Stubbs, others to learn fate today
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Oct 17, 2013
A judge will determine today whether three men convicted of killing a policeman at a nightclub could face the death penalty a second time.
Stephen 'Die' Stubbs, Andrew ‘Yogi’ Davis and Clinton ‘Russ’ Evans were convicted of the 1999 murder of Constable Jimmy Ambrose in a retrial on July 25.
Lawyers Murrio Ducille, for Stubbs; Ian Cargill, for Davis, and Romona Farquharson, for Evans, argued that the prosecutors’ failure to state their intention to seek the death penalty at conviction should prevent them from doing so now.
Justice Roy Jones will give his decision at 11 a.m.
The men were sentenced to death when they were convicted of the offense in 2001. At that time, the death penalty was the mandatory sentence for murder.
The penalty still remains on the books, but is now reserved for offenses deemed the “worst of the worst” and the “rarest of the rare” and where the offender shows no possibility of reform.
All of the defense lawyers referred to a 2006 practice direction issued by former Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall following the Privy Council decision that made the death penalty discretionary.
The practice direction requires the Crown to give oral notice of its intention to seek the death penalty and to give written notice within 14 days.
That practice direction, the defense team argued, lined up with other death penalty cases that had been argued to the Privy Council, the country’s final court.
However, Director of Public Prosecutions Vinette Graham-Allen said the defense or the convicts ought not to have been taken by surprise.
Graham-Allen said the men were convicted of killing a policeman and Parliament in 2011 listed the murder of a member of a disciplined force as a death eligible offense.
She said she also asked for psychiatric reports, which are required in all death penalty cases.
The defense lawyers said that wasn’t good enough as the guidelines and other cases said the intention should be stated and not inferred.
The courtroom was packed with police officers. Armed officers blocked access to Bank Lane until the convicts were escorted back to Her Majesty’s Prisons.