By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
COURT of Appeal judges were told yesterday that the Attorney General’s Office file for a former death row inmate cannot be found.
Murder convict Maxo Tido and his lawyer Glendon Rolle appeared before the appellate court for Tido’s substantive hearing intending to challenge his 52-year sentence for the killing of 16-year-old Donnell Connover.
However, Crown respondent Anishka Hanchell told the judges that she was not in a position to proceed because she did not handle the original appeal and was now unable to track down the file when speaking with a number of senior counsel at the agency.
“This is so unsatisfactory,” said Justice Stanley John.
Justice Abdulai Conteh noted that “this is a very serious matter” because the appellant had been detained for more than 10 years and was appealing his most recent punishment.
Justice Neville Adderley inquired whether the file had been lost during the agency’s relocation from the post office on East Hill Street to the Paul Adderley Building on John F Kennedy Drive.
Ms Hanchell said she was not in a position to say. However, she offered to proceed with the matter to allow the appellant to argue his case. She added that she would seek an adjournment from the court if and when the Crown was asked to respond, giving the reason that she had indicated earlier.
Though Rolle said he was ready to proceed, Justice John noted the best course of action was to have the matter heard in one substantive hearing when both sides would be heard.
“Clearly you are not ready to proceed for one reason or another,” Justice John told Ms Hanchell, “and through no fault of your own.”
The judges adjourned the hearing to September 25.
On March 20, 2006, a jury convicted Tido of murdering the victim in 2002. Her body was found off Cowpen Road, battered and bruised, her skull crushed. Evidence also revealed that parts of Ms Connover’s body were burned after her death.
A month after his conviction, then Senior Justice Allen ruled that the crime committed by Tido warranted the death penalty.
The decision came days after the Privy Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in place up until that point in the Bahamas was not constitutional.
In 2009, the Committee for the Prerogative of Mercy decided the law should take its course, as Tido’s case was not one that warranted mercy.
However, he appealed to the London-based Privy Council, the Bahamas’ highest court of appeal, which ruled that the killing of Connover did not warrant execution. Consequently, he had to reappear before the Supreme Court for re-sentencing.
This re-sentencing occurred in March 2012 before Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, who gave Tido 52 years in prison after noting: “I have not found in you true remorse.”