The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) this afternoon dismissed the appeals filed by brothers Orwin and Cleon Hinds who back in 2015 were convicted for the 2011 murder of Clementine Fiedtkou-Parris.
The Court has said, however, that it will reserve its decision for a date to be announced, regarding the appeals to the 50-year sentences which had been imposed on each Appellant by the Guyana Court of Appeal.
Following a brief recess after the hearing of the appeal, the Trinidad-based court of last resort for Guyana did not state its reasons, but announced that it had reached a decision, upholding the convictions.
President of the Court—Justice Adrian Saunders—said, however, that a written decision will be issued outlining the Court’s reasons for dismissing the appeals regarding the convictions.
Attorney Arudranauth Gossai who represented the brothers had taken issue with the eyewitness’ identification of Orwin, for whom he argued no physical description was ever provided.
He said, too, that a second statement given by the witness a year after the murder, spoke of lighting conditions on the night in question, but no mention had ever been made of whether there was any light shining on the face of the person identified as Orwin.
Justice Denys Barrow then sought to enquire from counsel if it was not implicit that the lighting condition would have been sufficient.
Justice Barrow then further pointed out that unless this could be negatived or struck down; which the defence did not challenge at the trial, then the subsequent identification on the identification parade would have been sound.
Gossai maintained, however, that the trial judge needed to do more regarding directions to the jury as to how it ought to have treated with the issue of identification.
He contended that the directions were “woefully inadequate,” as were those of the alibi defence raised by his client.
Meanwhile, regarding the issue of sentencing, the lawyer said that not only was it “manifestly excessive,” but not in accordance with current established sentencing guidelines.
The appeal was heard by Justices Saunders and Barrow; along with Justices Jacob Wit, Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, and Andrew Burgess.
In February of this year, the Guyana Court of Appeal also upheld the convictions, but reduced the 81-year sentence which trial judge Navindra Singh had imposed on the Hinds brothers and their co-convicts Roy Jacobs and Kevin October who had all been hired to kill the elderly woman.
Citing legal precedent set by the CCJ, the local appellate found 35 years to be “a more appropriate” starting point, as opposed to the base of 60 years, which superior courts have repeatedly said Justice Singh provides no basis for as a commencement amount.
After imposing the 60 years on each of the convicts, Justice Singh added 10 years each for premeditation, an additional 10 years because of the fact that the murder was executed for payment and one additional year owing to the use of a firearm.
The local court of appeal, however, after setting the base at 35 years, added five years for premeditation, and an additional five years, having regard to the number of offenders who participated in the depth of planning their joint enterprise to kill the woman and five extra years for the use of a firearm.
The Hinds brothers, Jacobs and October— who succumbed to COVID-19 last year, were all found guilty by a jury of murdering Fiedtkou-Parris on June 30th, 2011, as part of a conspiracy for money.
The charge against the quartet stated that they murdered the elderly woman, pursuant to an arrangement whereby money was intended to pass from one person to another.
They stormed into the septuagenarian’s Lot 42 Robb Street home after enquiring for her and thereafter shot and killed her just as she exited her bedroom.
The men then jumped into a waiting car while the injured woman was rushed to the Georgetown Hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly after.
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