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Death penalty remains on table in Stubbs case

  • Stephen 'Die' Stubbs. FILE

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 18, 2013

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Prosecutors’ failure to follow established procedure in capital cases does not prevent them from seeking the death penalty for three convicted cop killers, Justice Roy Jones ruled yesterday.

Lawyers Murrio Ducille, Ian Cargill and Romona Farquharson who represent Stephen ‘Die’ Stubbs, Andrew ‘Yogi’ Davis and Clinton ‘Russ’ Evans respectively, said since the prosecution failed to follow accepted protocol, the death penalty should no longer be an option.

The men were found guilty of the 1999 murder of Constable Jimmy Ambrose on July 25 in a retrial.

A sentencing hearing will begin at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

This is the second time the men could face the death penalty.

They were sentenced to death when they were convicted of the offence 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 offences 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 offence.

In his ruling, Jones said the prosecutors’ arguments were inconsistent as on one hand they argued they did not have to follow the practice direction and on the other they said the requirement of notice had been fulfilled.

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