Appeal denied

CCJ upholds murder conviction of ZR driver

Convicted killer Troy Tyrone Stanford has run out of options and will have to serve the full sentence of 18 years and 29 days imposed by a High Court judge in June 2011.

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today upheld the decisions of the Barbados Court of Appeal and dismissed a plea of self-defence by the ZR driver in the 2008 murder of another ZR driver.

With the CCJ being Barbados’ final appellate court, the decision means Stanford has exhausted all his appeals, having lost his first appeal before the local Supreme Court.

His attorney Larry Smith would not say whether or not he was unhappy with the CCJ ruling, but he told Barbados TODAY he had accepted it.

Larry Smith

“I am not saying that I disagree with the ruling of the court. What I am saying is this. It is not an issue of being happy or unhappy. The court laid out very clearly what their views are and that is the decision of the court and we abide by it,” he said.

Smith, who along with Safiya A Moore represented the convict, said the decision had gone beyond the particular case and had provided guidance to the courts here on how to deal with issues of defences in future.

“I have nothing but the greatest respect for the Caribbean Court of Justice. I think it is a great court. I think it is great that our own people are deciding for us our legal positions. So I am a big supporter of the CCJ,” the attorney told Barbados TODAY.

In its ruling, the regional court also dismissed the notion that the trial judge had failed to direct the jury on the issue of self-defence based on the evidence presented, the court said in a release.

Stanford, the driver of a ZR259, was charged with murdering Matthew Joseph, the driver of ZR289, following an altercation on June 15, 2008. The incident occurred at the end of a Leinster Road, Bush Hall, St Michael cavalcade as patrons were making their way home.

The trial judge had directed the jury on the defences of “accident” and “provocation”, the CCJ said.

Stanford was convicted of manslaughter and appealed to the Court of Appeal here, where he argued that there was sufficient evidence to direct the jury on self-defence, but that the trial judge had failed to do so.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and held that the trial judge was right not to have directed the jury on self-defence. In his appeal before CCJ Justices Adrian Saunders, Jacob Wit, Winston Charles Anderson and Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Stanford had argued that the trial judge “had an obligation to direct the jury on any defence which arose on the evidence of the matter, which he purports includes that of self-defence”.

“In considering the evidence, the CCJ stated that the law required an act of self-defence to be the deliberate yet reasonable result of an accused’s honest belief that he or another person was under imminent attack.

“The Court held that Stanford’s decision to shoot Joseph was neither prompted by fear of an attack on himself nor was it reasonable in the circumstances,” the release stated.

The Court also advised that the issue of defences is to be best answered by the trial judge who has heard the evidence, and determining whether there is evidence sufficiently strong to raise a bona fide case of self defence”.

In handing down her sentence, the trial judge had referred to the facts surrounding the killing, which were that a firearm was used, the shooting took place in a public place and the deceased was unarmed and outnumbered. Additionally, the judge felt that Stanford had shown no remorse, since after escaping legal custody and being recaptured, he had remarked that he had escaped because he was being charged for something he had not done.

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