A man, who should have been released from prison in August at the end of a 12-year sentence for murder, walked out of court a free man on Monday.
Leroy Haynes could have been retried for his alleged crime; however, the Court of Appeal decided that to do so would not serve justice, since he had almost completed his initial sentence.
Leroy Haynes’ appeal was one of three that the Crown conceded on the first day of last week’s sitting of the Court of Appeal in Kingstown.
In the other two cases, the court ordered retrial of Aubrey Wilson, who has been convicted of murder, and of Annel Young, who had been convicted of murder and aggravated burglary.
The crown conceded the appeals, having acknowledged that the judges — the late Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle and Justice Wesley James, who has since retired — had made grave errors in their submissions to the juries.
In December 2013, Justice Bruce-Lyle sentenced a then 31-year-old Haynes, a Largo Height labourer to 12 years in jail after a 12-member jury found him guilty of the murder of Basil Ellis, 37, of Redemption Sharpes, originally of Chateaubelair.
Ellis died after being stabbed in the stomach with a knife on Aug. 6, 2011 at the entrance to Little Tokyo, Kingstown.
According to the prosecution’s case, an argument had developed between the two friends over $50 that Ellis owed Haynes.
In Wilson’s case, Justice James had sentenced him to 25 years in jail over the Aug. 14, 2011 murder of his former lover, Stephanie Daniel, 33, and the attempted murder of Vasilka Maloney.
Duane Daniel, Wilson’s counsel during last week’s appeal, said that while his case was different from Haynes’, in that Haynes’ sentence had expired, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution was quite right in conceding the appeal.
Justices of Appeal Davidson Baptiste, Louise Blenman and Mario Michel presided over the hearing.
Justice Baptiste said that the bench was of the view that the interest of justice demands a retrial.
On the issue of bail, Justice Blenman told counsel to make the proper application at the proper place and time.
Meanwhile, Annel Young, of Calder Ridge, had been convicted of attempted murder in an aggravated burglary in connection with a May 2010 incident that left then 18-year-old Afeisha Toby with severe chop wounds to her head, one of which punctured the lining of her brain.
She also had chops to the front and back of her neck and one of her fingers was severed.
Justice James had sentenced Young to 20 years in jail.
Counsel Patina Knights represented Young at last week’s appeal hearing.
She said that while the defence recognises the seriousness of the offence, the incident occurred in 2010.
“And the evidence which is provided by the crown is based on eyewitness evidence. My lord, we are saying that due to the staleness of the evidence–” the counsel was saying when justice Baptiste said:
“And the eyewitnesses’ eyes have diminished?”
“Memory, my lord,” Knights responded, adding that one of the witnesses is elderly.
Baptiste said that when the matter is retried those issues might arise. He added that he is sure that Knights has the competence to act accordingly.