By FARRAH JOHNSON
THE Court of Appeal has overturned the 20-year manslaughter sentence of a man who was accused of robbing and killing another man in Exuma six years ago. Demetri Rolle and Giordano Rolle Jr were accused of murdering and stealing a gold chain, a gold watch and a sum of cash from Dwayne Nixon on February 18, 2014. A jury convicted Rolle of the manslaughter and armed robbery of Dwayne Finnekan on March 10, 2017. On November 23, 2018, he was then sentenced to 20 years in prison for manslaughter and 15 years for armed robbery. Both sentences were ordered to run concurrently. Rolle Jr was convicted or murder and armed robbery and given a 30-year sentence.
The three years Demetri Rolle spent on remand were deducted from the sentences.
Last week, Justices Maureen Crane-Scott, Roy Jones and Milton Evans quashed the sentence after ruling the judge who heard Rolle’s case should not have admitted the record of the interview and the statement of offence into evidence during the trial.
“There are a number of grounds filed by the appellant, but the first two grounds are of note,” the judgement notes. “The first one is that learned judge erred in law and in fact when she wrongfully admitted the record of interview and statement of the offence; and, secondly, the learned judge failed, based on the circumstances of the case, to give the reasons for her decision to admit the record of interview into evidence.
“After full submissions on this matter, counsel for the Crown has conceded that the failure of the judge to provide reasons in the circumstances of this case was an error which goes to the root and, as a result, both grounds one and two should be acceded to in that in the circumstances of this case the record of interview and the statement should not have been admitted into evidence.”
The counsel for the Crown also conceded that there was no other evidence that could be used against Rolle during the trial. They also agreed that it was not a “proper case for a retrial.”
“Therefore, in the circumstances of this case, based on the concession of the Crown, we accede to the application to extend time, we allow the appeal and quash the conviction and sentence, and we do not order a retrial,” the justices concluded.
“Unless the appellant is being held for some other purpose, he would be eligible to be released from prison.”