CCJ upholds Barbados murder conviction
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday dismissed the appeal against the murder conviction of Carlton Hall and affirmed the order of the Barbados Court of Appeal that the appellant be brought to the Trial Court for resentencing.
Hall was convicted of the murder of Adrian Wilkinson in 2016 and sentenced to death. He appealed both his conviction and sentence.
However, the appeal against the sentence became unnecessary after the CCJ, the island’s highest court, had earlier ruled in two previous matters that the mandatory death sentence for murder was unconstitutional.
The Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal on January 23 last year and ordered that he be brought before the Trial Court for resentencing.
But Hall appealed to the CCJ, arguing that the identification evidence against him was so weak and unreliable that the trial judge should not have allowed the case to go to the jury. He also argued, for the first time, that his lawyers had failed to raise the issue of his good character and the jury may not have convicted him if his counsel had done so.
The CCJ, by a 3-2 majority, held that the fact that the eyewitness saw the appellant twice on the evening of the murder, prior to seeing him shoot Wilkinson, amounted to special circumstances within the meaning of the Barbados Evidence Act, and that the trial judge was, therefore, right to allow the case to go to the jury.
Justices Wit, Anderson and Rajnauth-Lee also ruled that good character direction had no sway as the jury believed the eyewitness but not the appellant.
However, Justices Barrow and Jamadar found that the identification evidence was not supported, either by special circumstances or otherwise, and that the trial judge should have accepted the no-case submission by defence counsel.