Appeal Court upholds manslaughter sentence
The Court of Appeal Tuesday upheld and affirmed a sentence imposed on Jamaican national Donovan George Barnes, who was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury back in October 2012.
Barnes was charged with murdering Raymond Hewitt on November 14, 2010.
The facts read by then Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts revealed that the two men were engaged in a game of dominoes at Barnes’ residence that November night when an argument erupted.
Barnes reportedly told Hewitt something distasteful about his mother and the deceased retaliated.
“He take up the domino table top and threw it in my face, so that is how I get de burst over my forehead,” Barnes reportedly told police in a statement.
He also said that the deceased came at him with a chair and, at the time, he had the knife in his possession, which he was using to peel a pear.
“I do not know if the knife cut ’im ’cause I was defending myself wid my hand in de air. Somebody hold me and pull me away. He was trying to kill me wid de iron chair,” Barnes’ statement read.
He denied the murder charge in September 2012 on the grounds that it was self defence and went on trial where a jury found him guilty of the lesser charge.
Madam Justice Maureen Crane-Scott sentenced Barnes to eight years in jail for the crime. But the judge took into account his time already spent on remand and as such he had five years and 265 days left to serve on the sentence.
However, Barnes, though his attorney Angella Mitchell-Gittens, filed on February 28, 2013 five grounds of appeal which dealt solely with the conviction.
Among the criminal attorney’s submissions were that Barnes’ case should not have been sent to a jury for deliberation as his confession statement raised defences of “accident and self defence”.
She also contended that the verdict was “unsafe and unsatisfactory” and the only recourse was to overturn the conviction.
However, Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson and appeal judges Kaye Goodridge and Andrew Burgess disagreed.
“We are mindful of the fact that whether a verdict is to be regarded as unsafe depends upon all the circumstances of the case and whether on the particular facts there is any lurking doubt that the verdict returned by the jury was anything but just.
“Having reviewed the evidence and perused the summation in its entirety, we find no merit in the preceding grounds. We are satisfied that the appellant received a fair and just trial resulting in a verdict which was safe and satisfactory,” Sir Marston said as he dismissed Barnes’ appeal in the No. 1 Supreme Court Tuesday.
However, Tuesday’s judgment may be of little consequence to Barnes as the media was made to understand that he will be released from HMP Dodds in two weeks.