Green set free

Guyanese man to sue after being kept in prison despite serving time

High Court judge Randall Worrell Friday ordered the release of a 46-year-old Guyanese man who had been serving a 15-year sentence for drugs. And the man’s lawyer has indicated he will be suing the State over his unlawful detention.

Gavin Wayne Green was convicted of six drug offences – importation, possession and trafficking of 91.3 kilogrammes of cannabis and 119.4 kilogrammes – on June 4, 2009.

He was sentenced on December 11, 2009 to ten years in prison for possession of cannabis, ten years for possession of cocaine, 12 years for trafficking of cannabis and 15 years for cocaine trafficking, with all the sentences to run concurrently.

However, Green appealed both the verdict and the sentence. A decision in that appeal is still pending, but Justice Worrell ruled in the No. 9 Supreme Court that Green be immediately released after his lawyer Marlon Gordon filed a habeas corpus suit in the High Court, contending that his client was being unlawfully held at HMP Dodds since his time in prison came to an end on March 4 this year, taking into consideration his time spent on remand prior to sentencing.

From left, attorneys Rashida Edwards, George Bennett and Marlon Gordon were all smiles as they left the Supreme Court Friday afternoon.

The appellant argued in the affidavit that based on a ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice in a previous case, “I am entitled to all the time spent on remand to be credited to my sentence. I am also advised and . . . believe that I am entitled to the standard one third remission granted by the Prison Authority to inmates.”

The suit further read: “ . . . Based on a calculation of my sentence, inclusive of both remand time and remission, my sentence should have ended in March 2017. Thus, I now face the harsh reality of being incarcerated after my expected date of release, as no decision has been rendered on my appeal.”

Green went on to say that an inordinate length of time had passed since he appealed his conviction and sentence, and all the circumstances of the case as well as the process had “created added hardship on me”.

“This is especially on account of the fact that I have been incarcerated from the time of my arrest in 2006 until present,” his affidavit stated.

It is understood that a mix-up reportedly occurred when Green committed an offence while he was incarcerated, which resulted in him being sentenced to three months in jail to run concurrently with his previous sentence.

That sentence was apparently added to his time, instead of running concurrently, resulting in Green facing a June release date. However, there was no legal paper trail in the court.

Gordon has now signaled his intention to file a suit for damages for his client’s unlawful detention.

Up to press time, the necessary papers had reportedly been filed with the relevant authorities for Green to be released. However, Barbados TODAY understands that he was still housed at the St Philip institution waiting to be handed over to immigration authorities.

Senior Crown Counsel Alison Burke and Acting Senior Crown Counsel Roselyn Marshall-Mapp represented that Attorney General in the case, while Assistant Superintendent Cedric Moore represented the prison and Crown Counsel Neville Watson appeared for the Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock, QC, who was also present at Friday’s hearing.

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