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Justice Isaacs: Resentencing of murder convicts ‘problematic’

A seismic change in the law five years ago that deemed the mandatory death penalty unconstitutional has necessitated the resentencing of murder convicts.  However, Senior Justice Jon Isaacs, in a judgment delivered last month, said the logistics of arranging the re-sentencing hearings of these convicts has proven problematic because of confusion over who is responsible for ensuring they are carried out.

Murder convict Peter Cash, who was sentenced to death for the September 1, 1994 murder of Joyce Elaine Adderley in 1997, made his first attempt to be resentenced five years ago.

Cash wrote a letter to the Office of the Attorney General that bore the prison date stamp November 3, 2006 asking when he would be resentenced.  He did not receive a response to the query and he later wrote to the Supreme Court Registrar on September 28, 2007 requesting to be resentenced and that counsel be appointed to him.  Despite these efforts, Cash was not resentenced.

Justice Isaacs said, “It seems the Crown expected the court to have the convicts brought before it, but the court was under the impression the Crown would take the initiative.  The result, however, was a state of inertia.  This has caused some convicts to bring their own actions for constitutional relief and/or resentencing. The applicant made his way to the court by dint of his own effort.”

Attorney Jerone Roberts represented Cash at his application for constitutional redress.  Isaacs ruled that Cash’s death sentence was null and void and scheduled a resentencing hearing for December 12.

Eucal Bonaby appeared for the Crown.

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