Swayer’s death sentence appeal set for April
After nearly a year of delays, condemned prisoner Godfrey Sawyer’s appeal of his murder conviction and death sentence will begin again on April 14.
Sawyer has had several challenges retaining legal counsel and has been represented by several attorneys over the past year.
As a result, the Crown appointed attorney Damian Gomez to represent Sawyer. During the hearing yesterday Gomez was not present but he sent a message through attorney Jairam Mangra agreeing to represent Sawyer.
Court of Appeal Justices Christopher Blackman, Sir George Newman and Stanley John are presiding over the case.
Justice Blackman said when the matter comes up again in April the court is expected to hear submissions and arguments.
Justice Newman told Sawyer that the matter would not be adjourned again because of changes in view about his counsel.
Sawyer was convicted on June 16, 2009, of the murder of Sterling Eugene, who died after being shot in the buttocks.
Then Senior Justice Anita Allen(now president of the Court of Appeal)sentenced him to death on November 9, 2009.
Attorney Jerone Roberts previously represented Sawyer. At the last hearing in the Court of Appeal he had indicated to the three-man panel that he could not find any grounds on which he could argue the appeal.
In his appeal, Sawyer alleges that a mistaken identity was the main reason why his conviction and sentence should be quashed.
At the time, Sawyer told the court that he wanted a new lawyer.
The court, however, warned Sawyer that he could not go on objecting to counsel.
“You realize that there comes a time when this court, if it believes that what you are doing is just playing the system, namely, rejecting because you know that leads to adjournment, this court is not stupid, you realize that,”Justice Newman said in January.
Jillian Williams of the Office of the Attorney General represents the Crown.
Last year, the Ministry of National Security confirmed that there were plans to read a death warrant against Sawyer.