By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal yesterday set aside the 35-year sentence of a man who was convicted of attempting to murder three men at a cemetery in East Grand Bahama over three years ago.
In November 2016, Doyle Mackey was accused of travelling from New Providence to Grand Bahama to lure Carlos and Carlton Hamilton to an isolated area to kill them.
According to court documents, he did this by arranging to meet with the siblings in a cemetery “under the guise that a 600-pound drug shipment was coming by way of East End Grand Bahama from Abaco.”
On the morning of November 3, 2016, Mackey, the Hamilton brothers and Joshua Williams put money together to rent a van to transport the drugs. Another man, Jermaine Ferguson, was able to secure the van and was the driver of the vehicle on the day in question. The men then followed Mackey, who was driving a white Nissan Sentra, to McClean’s Town cemetery.
“Once the brothers exited the van, they were shot multiple times and died within minutes at the scene,” court documents read.
“The van was shot at from the back, left and right sides.
“The bullets injured both Jermaine and John. The victims tried to flee, however, the appellant shot at Jermaine and Joshua in the van hitting Joshua in the face. Jermaine and John exited the van and Jermaine was pursued by the appellant who aimed and fired at him. Jermaine heard someone say, ‘Get the Rasta’. John hid in a ditch underwater.
“The appellant and at least one other person left the scene in the car.”
Sometime later, Doyle Mackey was charged with the murders of the Hamilton brothers, and the attempted murder of Jermaine Ferguson aka “Jenkins”, John Edgecombe, aka “Rasta”, and Joshua Williams.
On May 9, 2019, Mackey was convicted on three counts of attempted murder and on November 6, 2019, he was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment minus the time he had already spent on remand.
Two weeks later, Mackey sought to appeal his conviction and sentence on the grounds that the trial judge misdirected the jury on self-defence.
He also argued the learned judge failed to give a “lucas direction and critical warning on lies”.
After reserving their decision in April, Justices Roy Jones, Milton Evans and Carolita Bethell yesterday quashed Mackey’s conviction, set aside his sentence and made an order for a new trial to be held.
In their judgement, delivered by Justice Evans, the panel noted that self-defence was the “essence” of Mackey’s defence to the attempted murder charges.
“He was entitled to a proper direction on that defence with the proper application of the evidence to that defence,” Justice Evans stated.
“The trial judge should make it clear to the jury that the test for self-defence is whether the defendant had an honest belief that he or someone else was in immediate danger of unlawful harm.
“The importance of that is that the belief may be mistaken, but yet honest.”
Justice Evans said although the matter of “reasonableness” was “relevant to the determination of whether the belief was honest,” it was not conclusive.
He also said the conclusion of whether excessive force was used by Mackey had to rely on the “danger as the defendant honestly perceived it to be”.
“In her summation the learned judge did not make these points clear to the jury and thus the directions given were not adequate. In the absence of the jury being made to understand that the test to be applied for self-defence is that a person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances as he honestly believes them to be in the defence of himself or another their verdict must be considered unsafe.
“…The appellant had raised other grounds on which he sought to rely; however, having regard to the finding on this first ground I see no need to deal with those other grounds. This is particularly so as I am of the view that the convictions should be quashed, the sentences set aside and a new trial ordered.”