June 11, 2010
The Court of Appeal ruled that the court made the right decision when it sentenced Latherio Jones to three years probation for the 2004 killing of Trevor Wilson after Wilson made sexual advances towards him.
Dame Joan Sawyer, President of the Court of Appeal, said the sentence should remain because the convict had already spent almost five years awaiting trial in prison, was 18 years old at the time of the shooting and had been "provoked" to commit the violent act by his victim's sexual advance.
Dame Joan said the senior judges were not "minded to accept" the Attorney General's Office's submissions in favor of the appeal against the sentence in part because there was "no dispute by the Crown that there was a homosexual advance to (Jones) shortly before he shot (Wilson) and that it was not the only such advance."
"It was pointed out to (attorneys representing the Attorney General's Office) that had (Jones) killed (Wilson) immediately, that would be a case of self defense, because one is entitled to use whatever force is necessary to prevent one's self being the victim of a homosexual act," stated the appeal court President.
She explained that the court agreed with the trial judge's finding that "a further three years of supervision by the authorities would be of benefit to (Jones)" as opposed to a more severe sentence.
"We see nothing wrong in principle with the approach of the learned judge," she added, referring to the sentence applied by the trial judge in the case.
The dismissal of the Attorney General's appeal against the sentence given to Jones came as a surprise to some in the legal community. One criminal lawyer pointed out that manslaughter is an offence in The Bahamas which has been known to carry a sentence of between 10 and 35 years incarceration.
Nevertheless the relatively lenient stance taken by the court is reminiscent of that in the case of Frederick Green-Neely, a Bahamian man who was acquitted in 2008 of the 2005 stabbing death of Dale Williams.
Green-Neely, 25, admitted to the killing of Williams, who was allegedly gay and known to be HIV-positive, after Williams "grabbed his genitals" and told him he had a crush on him.
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News date : 06/11/2010 Category : Tribune Stories