A man’s bid to have the Court of Appeal overturn his convictions for murder, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery has failed.
In 2016, a Supreme Court jury convicted Errol Knowles of the murder of Heuton Lloyd Jr. at Key West Street, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery.
Since he committed the 2012 murder as a juvenile, he was ordered detained at the court’s pleasure with his detention being reviewed after 20 years. He was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for armed robbery and 10 years’ imprisonment for attempted robbery, but those sentences were reduced to eight years and three months after
receiving credit for time served.
Knowles’s lawyer Ryszard Humes sought permission to appeal out of time, but the court denied the application and confirmed the convictions after finding the proposed ground of appeal had no prospect for success.
Humes argued that the judge appeared to put undue pressure on the jury after they had failed to return a unanimous guilty verdict on the murder by asking them to retire again.
In delivering the judgment, Court President Sir Hartman Longley noted that the trial judge told the jury that a majority verdict was acceptable for an acquittal; however, they had to return a unanimous verdict to convict.
When the jury returned, they said that had found Knowles guilty by a count of 11-1.
The judge told jurors that the verdict was not acceptable and asked if they required additional time to deliberate. Once again, she directed them on what verdicts were acceptable and told them that they could reach any verdict.
Following further deliberations, the jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict.
Longley said, “It was in asking the jury to return to consider reaching a verdict or otherwise in accordance with her instructions that the complaint was made that in so doing the learned judge was putting undue pressure on the jury to convict the intended appellant.
“It seemed clear to us, however, that what the judge was seeking to do was to clarify a position which emerged once the jury revealed their decision, which was contrary to the instructions given to them during the summation.”
Vernal Collie an Anishka Pennerman appeared for the Crown.
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