Constitutional Rights In Contention In Appeal In Murder Case


Tribune Staff Reporter


A LAWYER for a man convicted of his girlfriend’s fatal stabbing argued in the Court of Appeal yesterday that a judge was wrong in law to allow prejudicial material to be entered in evidence at his client’s trial.

Murrio Ducille advanced this argument before Justices Anita Allen, Abdulai Conteh and Neville Adderley on behalf of 28-year-old Douglas Pratt in his appeal against his conviction and 50-year sentence for the November 2010 murder of Shande Cartwright at Adelaide Beach.

Last April, a Supreme Court jury unanimously agreed that Pratt killed Cartwright.

The victim, who was a client service representative at the Royal Bank of Canada, was found dead at Adelaide Beach with multiple stab wounds. A blanket, wine bottle and a pizza box were nearby.

The autopsy report of Dr Caryn Sands, Princess Margaret Hospital pathologist, revealed that the woman had been stabbed 17 times, with some of the wounds being as deep as five inches.

Pratt, the father of Cartwright’s children, was arraigned four days later in connection with her death, but maintained his innocence when tried in the Supreme Court.

In yesterday’s proceedings, Mr Ducille argued that there was no entry in his client’s detention record that he had ever been informed of his constitutionally guaranteed right to have a lawyer present.

He also argued that there was no record of his client being taken out of the holding cell to give a record of interview to detectives.

Justice Allen, however, argued that the Constitution “doesn’t say he has the right to have the lawyer present” for the record of interview.

“It was his right to be informed and/or be permitted to have communication with one. If he had said yes, then the police should have allowed him to do so. It’s not a right to have the lawyer present,” Justice Allen added.

“It would make no sense otherwise,” Mr Ducille argued.

Justice Conteh agreed with the sentiments of the appellate president, adding that the lawyer “could’ve advised his client ‘don’t say anything’.”

“There’s no right in the Constitution that you’re entitled to have an attorney present for the interview,” Justice Allen stressed.

Mr Ducille said while the court was of this view, he maintained that there was no record of Pratt having been informed of his right to have an attorney.

“Corporal Keith Martin said he informed him, but this is not recorded in the detention record,” the lawyer submitted.

“He wasn’t informed so he didn’t know to ask, is what you’re saying then?” Justice Allen asked.

“Yes,” Mr Ducille said, adding that this was the ground “on which the judge ought to have excluded the record of interview.”

Mr Ducille said in addition to not being informed of his right to have an attorney, his client was allegedly handcuffed, suffocated and stomped on while in police custody.

The appeal hearing continues on Thursday, September 3.

Franklyn Williams, deputy director of Public Prosecutions, appears for the Crown.


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