The Court of Appeal on Tuesday reduced the sentence for death row inmate Ryan Robinson to 35 years in prison.
In 2007, Robinson was sentenced to death for the murder a mentally-ill woman, Carol Ann Augustus, which occurred at Mahaica in 2005.
The mandatory death penalty was imposed by then High Court Judge Yonette Cummings-Edwards.
The victim, Augustus, who was of unsound mind, went missing from her Sophia home in July 2005. Her body was later found floating in the Atlantic Ocean.
The High Court indictment said Robinson called “Bat-Ears” killed her sometime between July 21 and 22 and during the trial, the prosecution admitted into evidence a caution statement the accused gave police, saying that he had sexual intercourse with the woman, choked her, and then pushed her into the ocean.
During the trial, Robinson’s counsel, Lyndon Amsterdam told the Court that Robinson only had sex with the woman but he did not kill her. Robinson was later found guilty and sentenced to death.
However, following his conviction and sentence, Robinson went to the Court of Appeal. He requested a reversal of the decision to convict and sentence him.
The matter was heard at the Appeal Court by Chief Justice Roxane George, Justices Dawn Gregory and James Bovell Drakes. During the hearing, issues were raised about the manner in which the trial judge did her summation. The lawyer believed that the summation could have led the jury to speculation in their period of deliberation.
The lawyer also claimed that the no case submission presented on his client’s behalf was unreasonably overruled and the sentence was unconstitutional.
Relying on a decision of the CCJ as it relates to section 100 of the Criminal Offences Act Chapter 8:01, which essentially states that everyone who commits murder must suffer death, Amsterdam argued that the Act crafted by the legislative arm of government breaches the model of separation of powers by tying the hands of members of the judiciary to no other option but a death sentence.
The lawyer noted too that although the Act was not amended at the time that his client was sentenced, it was altered later to give adjudicators the option of imposing a penalty in a term of years for a conviction of murder. The Appeal Court therefore upheld the murder conviction but overturned the death penalty, translating it to 35 years in prison instead.
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