The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned the conviction and sentence of Kubert George.
In 2013, George was convicted for the murder of his common-law wife, Patricia Rose, called Pansy.
Back then, trial Judge Navindra Singh had sentenced George to 60 years in prison. However in a ruling delivered by Justice Arif Bulkan at the Court of Appeal in Kingston, yesterday, the murder conviction was overturned and substituted for manslaughter.
The sentence was also reduced to 20 years in prison by the Judge who sat on a panel which included Chancellor Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards and Justice Dawn Gregory.
In his notice of appeal, George had contended that the judge failed in adequately directing the jury on issues of causation and nexus. He claimed that Justice Singh erred in law in failing to withdraw the case from the jury while arguing that there was no “nexus between the alleged injury and cause of death.”
According to him, by sending the case to the jury the judge caused the jury to speculate. Justice Singh noted that he found the convict’s actions to be willful, deliberate, premeditated and without regard for human life.
Yesterday in a review of arguments presented by Defence Attorney, Tanya Warren Clement and State Lawyer, Sonya Joseph, the Court ruled in favour of George.
In the ruling, the court considered among other things that the trial judge had failed to direct the jury on the issue of provocation even though the matter was raised by the accused in his defense.
However in substituting the murder conviction for manslaughter, the Court took into consideration, the fact that the crime is, as a result of intimate partner violence; an issue that has become increasingly prevalent with reports of a woman dying at the hands of her partner almost every week.
In light of the statistics, Justice Bulkan stressed that the Court is duty bound to send a strong message to society that such acts will not be tolerated.
George, a former security guard of the Quick Action Security Service, a former soldier and a professional cook, was convicted for the murder of his 46-year-old lover.
During his trial in the High Court, the prosecution relied heavily on a caution statement which George had given to the police, wherein he admitted stabbing Pansy with a knife.
But while admitting to making a statement to the police, George in a sworn statement from the witness box, said that while he could sign his name, he could neither read nor write; and that the police took advantage of that disadvantage by including lies with the truth in the statement he had given them.
He said that as a security guard, he had been attacked in the Albouystown area in the past; and because of that, he always walked with a knife to protect himself. He said he had told the police that he had the knife with him when he and his lover had a tussle that lasted for about 10 minutes, but he does not know how she sustained her injuries. He added, “I did not bore her.”
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