Medford seeks to have verdict overturned
John Andre Medford faced three counts during a 2012 High Court trial: possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and aggravated burglary.
A jury found him guilty on two counts but not guilty of the third count of committing aggravated burglary at Choices Minimart.
Yesterday, attorneys-at-law Safiya Moore and Marlon Gordon sought to have the verdict quashed and/or the sentence reduced.
The grounds of appeal were that the jury’s verdict was unsafe since it was contradictory and inconsistent and that the trial judge failed to properly analyse and evaluate the evidence for the benefit of the jury.
The attorneys further suggested that Medford was often deflected during his cross-examination and could not therefore put a proper defence to the jury, and that during sentencing, the judge did not apply her discretion properly and attributed a more aggravating form of conduct to Medford than the evidence suggested.
According to the record, the judge had made remarks while summing up the trial before the jury to the effect that Medford had fired shots at a gas station in the presence of civilians and police which, according to the evidence, did not take place.
The lawyers also referred to the fact that prior to handing down the sentence Justice Jacqueline Cornelius had said that if she had discretion Medford would have been given a 10-year-term rather than 15 years.
At the time he was sentenced, a mandatory 15 years applied to persons coming before the court with a second offence involving firearms or ammunition. Since then a 2014 Court of Appeal decision has deemed that unconstitutional and has given judges more discretion in sentencing such offenders.
Medford’s lawyers therefore asked the Court to now “apply those principles” and its own discretion by reducing Medford’s sentence.
Moore further reminded the Court that in the appellant’s probation report he had been deemed as having a “very low risk of reoffending.”
In his response before Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and Justices of Appeal Andrew Burgess and Kaye Goodridge, Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts said the attorneys for the appellant had failed to point out what the deficiencies were in the trial judge’s summation and he therefore found no merit in that ground.
“If you are complaining, show me what she should have said or done differently,” Watts contended.
The Crown conceded that statements made by the trial judge about Medford having fired shots were erroneous on her part and felt that a 10-year sentence she would have given was adequate. Watts added that the sentence reflected that Medford was a second-time offender and was one which should deter prospective offenders.
The Court reserved its decision in the matter.