Wed | Oct 23, 2019

Another sentencing delay for cops in Kirkland case

Published:Thursday | May 23, 2019 | 12:24 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

Constables Andrewain Smith, Durvin Hayles, and Anna-Kay Bailey will have to wait a few more days before they know if trial judge Justice Carol Lawrence-Beswick will grant them a non-custodial sentence, following submissions from defence attorneys on what they described as “novel points of law”.

The trio was, on February 8, found guilty of manslaughter in relation to the 2012 death of 16-year-old Immaculate Conception High School student Vanessa Kirkland by a seven-member jury .

Addressing the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday, attorney-at-law Peter Champagnie argued that his client, Smith, along with the other two cops, being found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter, showed that the jury believed that the cops had come under attack.

He said that it was their response to the attack that fell into criminal negligence.

Champagnie urged Justice Lawrence-Beswick to consider a non-custodial sentence because they were in the line of duty when the incident happened.

The attorney asked that a sentence below the usual starting point of five years be imposed given the positive nature of his client’s antecedent and social enquiry report (SER).

Same were the pleadings of attorney-at-law Nadine Guy, who also urged the court to hand down a non-custodial sentence for her client.

Guy stated that in the SER for her client and co-convicts, Kirkland’s mother indicated that her daughter was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The attorney said that this reasoning was supported by the jury, which convicted her client of manslaughter instead of murder, for which he had been charged.

Attorney-at-law Oswest Senior-Smith also made similar submissions to the court for his client, Bailey.

He said that given the unusual and unique nature of the case, a non-custodial sentence should be imposed.

Defence pushes for bail

The defence attorneys also want the court to offer their clients bail based on an interpretation of the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) Act if a custodial sentence were imposed as they embark on an appeal.

Due to time constraints, the prosecution is expected to make submissions on Monday in an effort to persuade the court to impose custodial sentences.

This is the third time that the sentencing hearing for the three cops has been delayed, having previously been scheduled for April 5 and May 17.

The allegations were that some time after 9 p.m. on March 20, 2012, Constables Bailey, Hayles, and Smith drove on to Norman Lane in Kingston and opened fire on a blue Suzuki Swift motor car parked along the left side of the road.

Kirkland, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was shot and killed.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com