The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned the convictions of a man who has been in prison since 2013.
Dominic Thompson was initially charged with murder after Domingo Duncan was shot dead during an attempted robbery on April 7, 2013.
On August 21, 2015, a jury acquitted Thompson of murder. However, the jury convicted Thompson of the alternative charge of manslaughter and attempted armed robbery.
He received concurrent sentences of 25 years and 10 years for manslaughter and attempted armed robbery.
In a decision delivered via Zoom, Justice of Appeal Milton Evans said that the trial judge made serious errors in the summation that went to “the safety of the verdicts”.
Evans said the trial judge failed to address a “major inconsistency” in the evidence of an eyewitness and Thompson’s alleged confession.
The witness said that only one person approached Duncan’s car, while Thompson said that he and the gunman, referred to as Tech, went to the car.
During the trial, Thompson backed away from the statement, saying that he gave it under oppression.
Evans said, “It is clear that the Crown’s evidence on what role the appellant played was inconsistent and thus unclear. The judge had an obligation to deal with this issue and point out to the jury the inconsistency, as it was clearly very material to the issue which they had to decide.
“I am constrained, therefore, to the view that the learned trial judge did not adequately direct the jury on the major discrepancies in the Crown’s case against the appellant. This, in my view, was a serious error and goes to the root of the safety of the verdicts.”
Additionally, the Court of Appeal said that the judge erred by letting the jurors consider the alternative charge of manslaughter.
Evans said, “In the circumstances as I have found them, I am satisfied that the learned judge fell into error in leaving the alternative charge of manslaughter to the jury. This was a case of murder or nothing.”
Evans said, “I am also satisfied that the evidence led by the Crown in support of the charge of murder, once not accepted by the jury, entitled the appellant to an acquittal as there was, in my view, no basis for a finding of manslaughter. As the evidence will not change there is no basis for an order for a retrial on the charge of manslaughter.”
Christina Galanos represented Thompson and Linda Evans appeared for the prosecution.