Appeal court upholds ruling on burglary of late politician’s home
The Court of Appeal today upheld and affirmed a sentenced imposed on two of the four men who were found guilty of committing aggravated burglary at the home of former Member of Parliament, the late Sir Richard Haynes, and Lady Carol Haynes.
The four were Mark Austin, Roger Carter, John Haynes and Andrew Haynes.
The facts revealed that in December 2007, the quartet went to Sir Richard’s home. John and Andrew Haynes remained in the car outside as the lookout, while Carter and Austin who were armed entered the home. Once inside, they robbed the victims and threatened them to open a safe.
The burglars made off with US$7,000 and BD$21,600 in cash, a wallet and several pieces of jewellery, to the tune of $52,120. The two men had a gun and a cutlass at the time.
Attorney for the Haynes brothers, Ajamu Boardi, argued on the grounds that the trial judge, Madame Justice Margaret Reifer, erred in law by imposing a sentence which did not properly reflect their level of culpability in the offence, that she had not taken their past good character into account and that the sentence was too severe.
He submitted that since the Haynes brothers were on the outside while the home was being burglarized, then their participation would have been less and the law provides for a judge to consider the level of participation.
He also argued that although Austin had been sentenced to 12 years and Carter 10, the differentiation in sentencing between them and his clients should have been greater.
Boardi added that his clients also had no previous convictions while Carter had one and Austin 57. John Haynes was a former soldier while Andrew had been married and the father of three, their attorney pointed out.
Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts contended that an eight-year sentence for aggravated burglary as serious as this one was a fit sentence.
Further, Watts rejected Boardi’s suggestion of four years, stating that the brothers would not have qualified for such a sentence even in a simple case of burglary.
The matter was heard before Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson K.A and Justices of Appeal Sherman Moore and Andrew Burgess.
They found no evidence to suggest that Justice Reifer had not taken all the relevant circumstances into account.
Stan Smith, attorney-at-law for the other appellants Austin and Carter, was sick and could not attend today’s hearing. His appeal will be heard at a later date.