Gowdie loses appeal
Incarcerated businessman Huey Gowdie has failed in his bid to have Jamaica's second-highest court throw out his conviction and 10-year prison sentence for shooting well-known businessman Shango Jackson to death in the upscale St Andrew community of Beverly Hills.
The Court of Appeal, in its decision handed down last Friday, rejected legal arguments by Gowdie's attorneys that aspects of his 2016 murder trial were unfair and that the sentence was "manifestly excessive".
"The application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence is refused," the panel of three judges ruled.
"In all the circumstances, the sentence cannot be regarded as manifestly excessive and there is no basis for this court to interfere with the sentence imposed," the added.
Gowdie was found guilty of manslaughter in the Home Circuit Court in May 2016, four years after he shot Jackson three times during a dispute at the Shenstone Drive premises they shared in July 2012.
Nearly two months after his conviction, Gowdie was sentenced to 10 years in prison at hard labour by Justice Evon Brown, who presided over the trial.
Relationship with ex-wife
At the time of the killing, Gowdie was involved in a romantic relationship with Jackson's ex-wife. The couple lived in a separate house at the same Shenstone Drive premises where Shango Jackson resided.
His attorney, Delano Harrison, argued that Justice Brown, while giving his directions to the jury, misdirected them in relation to the law governing the issue of self-defence and that he made unfair comments that were "clearly calculated to disparage the applicant's defence as being obviously implausible".
Harrison claimed, too, that the judge erred when he allowed the jury to consider the charge of manslaughter as a possible alternative verdict.
But the Court of Appeal found that Justice Brown gave jurors "clear and concise" directions on the law of self-defence.
"There is no merit in this complaint ... ," the court ruled.
Further, the Court of Appeal said that, having recognised a need for the jury to consider Jackson's actions on the day he was killed, Justice Brown erred when he did not indicate that this behaviour could have amounted to a provocative act.
As a result, the judges said he "ought properly to have left the issue of provocation for the consideration of the jury".
However, they noted that in the circumstances, there is a possibility that the appeal court felt compelled to change the verdict to guilty of manslaughter, if Gowdie had been convicted of murder.
"We cannot say that has resulted in a miscarriage of justice such that the conviction of manslaughter should be set aside," the judges said.