Vasyli wins murder case

A nine-member jury last night acquitted Donna Vasyli of the murder of her husband on March 24, 2015.

Philip Vasyli, a 60-year-old Australian podiatrist, was found stabbed to death in the guest house of the couple’s Old Fort Bay home.

The verdict last night came after a months-long trial before Senior Justice Bernard Turner.

Damian Gomez, KC, a member of Vasyli’s legal team, said, “She’s ecstatic. She has gone home to rest. It’s been traumatic for her entire surviving family.

“I think it’s been harrowing. I can’t imagine anybody going through what she has gone through.”

Gomez said he never for a moment doubted Vasyli’s innocence.

The verdict came down after 8 o’clock last night.

Asked what Vasyli said to her legal team after the verdict, Gomez said, “She cried and said ‘thank you’. She’s been through the mill.”

Months after Dr. Vasyli’s murder, a jury unanimously convicted his wife of 34 years of murder and she was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.

In 2017, justices of appeal Dame Anita Allen, Jon Isaacs and Stella Crane-Scott quashed the conviction.

Allen and Isaacs ordered a retrial.

Vasyli, of Old Fort Bay, appealed the order of a retrial to the Privy Council.

In March 2020, the country’s final appeal court quashed the first retrial order and sent the matter back to the Court of Appeal.

After hearing arguments, justices of appeal Sir Michael Barnett, Sir Brian Moree and Milton Evans in October 2020 ordered Vasyli to stand trial as soon as possible.

Vasyli had been on $250,000 bail since 2017.

Her legal team was led by K. D. Knight, QC, and also included Owen Wells.

Last night, Gomez told The Nassau Guardian, “There’s a need to reform things in the criminal justice system.

“A whole heap of things that are legislated for in other Commonwealth jurisdictions, we are leaving to chance and it impacts the fairness of proceedings because the reality is if you can’t afford counsel, you’re not going to have the level of representation that you need to mount a defense, so the fairness of the whole process is called into question.”

He added, “It’s very egregious for a person to be put to having to appeal to the Privy Council and to spend all this money in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Most people would be ruined.”

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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