By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO men will face sentencing next month after a Supreme Court judge dismissed their application to arrest a jury’s guilty verdict on manslaughter and armed robbery in the shooting death of an Ocean Club employee.
Dominic Thompson, 28, of Church Hill Drive, and Julien McKenzie, 24, of Albatross Avenue, stood trial before Justice Carolita Bethell concerning the murder and attempted armed robbery of Domingo Duncan on April 7, 2013.
Duncan was standing by his Ford Explorer when he was accosted and subsequently shot. He was taken to hospital by EMS where he died as a result of his injuries.
Last Friday, the jury required additional direction from Justice Bethell when deliberating on the evidence and the charges before them. It wasn’t until after 7pm that they acquitted the men of murder, but found Thompson guilty of manslaughter and attempted armed robbery. McKenzie was only convicted of attempted armed robbery.
Their respective lawyers, Murrio Ducille and Christina Galanos, asked Justice Bethell to arrest the verdicts pending the outcome of legal discussions pursuant to Section 184 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The law says that any “accused person may at any time before sentence, whether on his plea or otherwise, move (an) arrest of judgment on the ground that the information does not, after any amendment which the court is willing and has power to make, state any offence which the court has power to try.”
Mr Ducille yesterday said that to find his client guilty of an offence it must be established that the main perpetrator had to have been guilty of attempted robbery. He argued that based on the evidence, his client’s statement to police does not substantiate this.
Ms Galanos adopted Mr Ducille’s submission and further highlighted that manslaughter should not have been left to the jury, as there was no provocation.
Koschina Marshall, trial prosecutor, argued that a person can be found guilty of a lesser offence if it forms part of the offence with which he or she was charged.
She said this was supported by Section 114 (2) and (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 129 (3) of the Penal Code.
She said neither accused removed themselves from the common design – when two people commit the same crime together - as McKenzie was the driver and Thompson was the lookout person.
According to evidence produced at trial, McKenzie – the driver – and Thompson had left the Magic City nightclub and gone to Bluewaters Lounge.
Once there, Thompson and a man called “Tech” - who was armed with a gun - approached Duncan planning to rob him. When that failed, shots were fired and they ran.
Two eyewitnesses who saw and spoke with Duncan prior to the shooting said they saw McKenzie’s car circle the area three times.
McKenzie denied this, however, as he said he had dropped Thompson off before heading home. He said upon arriving at the intersection of Wulff and Baillou Hill Roads, he noticed police lights at the top of the hill and headed back to where he had dropped them off.
However, there was a roadblock and police told him that area was closed off.
Thompson, for his part, denied being a part of “Tech’s” plan to rob Duncan. He said he was only standing behind “Tech” at the time and was scared after the gun went off.
Justice Bethell ruled that there was no irregularity to the verdicts as the jury paid special attention to the case and the verdicts reflected as such because for each charge it was unanimous.
McKenzie and Thompson return to the Supreme Court on September 30 for sentencing.