DPP vows to fight appeal as Tesha Miller gets 38 years
The swagger may slow to a shuffle and the piercing eyes fade to a squint. Tesha Miller will be a grey-haired old man, aged almost 80, when he walks out of prison, a humbling blow delivered by the State to the Jamaican mafia boss whose Clansman Gang tormented Spanish Town and bathed its streets in blood.
But even as defence attorneys prepare to mount an appeal for the convicted gangster, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn has vowed that her office will put up a fierce fight when the time comes.
The DPP made the commitment yesterday while speaking to journalists less than an hour after Miller was sentenced to 38 years and nine months in prison in relation to the 2008 murder of then Jamaica Urban Transit Company chairman Douglas Chambers.
“In the Court of Appeal, which is where we practise every day from the Office of the DPP, we will be ready to beat any arguments from my learned friends as a matter of law in any area,” Llewellyn, QC, said.
A seven-member jury, on December 3, 2019, found Miller, 39, guilty of accessory before and after the fact to Chambers’ murder at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
On the charge of accessory before the fact to murder, Miller was sentenced to 38 years and nine months while he was sentenced to 18 months on the charge of accessory after the fact to murder. The sentences will run concurrently.
Further commenting on the sentencing, Llewellyn said that justice had been served.
“It was not an easy case for my office to prosecute. Several of the issues arising will always have to remain in the trenches, out of sight, and it’s good prosecution when you can get over the challenges and present the best possible case,” she said.
‘VERY HARSH’ SENTENCE
Before that, Bert Samuels, the attorney representing Miller, expressed disappointment in the sentence imposed on his client.
Samuels characterised the sentence as “very harsh, very high”, arguing that Miller’s conviction rested on the allegation that he had ordered Andre Bryan, alias ‘Blackman’, who had been acquitted in 2016 of killing Chambers, to commit murder.
“We grieve for the family of the deceased. However, we grieve for the state of the law as applied because it still just does not look right for there to be an acquittal of the felon and Miller is gone for 38 years and nine months,” Samuels said while members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Special Weapons and Tactical Team (SWAT) team guarded the precincts of the court.
The attorney is confident that they will win the appeal.
“In 2013, we were sentenced, and we went across the court of appeal and we won. That’s my prediction,” he said.
During the sentencing, trial judge Georgiana Fraser took into consideration the use of a gun to kill Chambers and the attempt to conceal the murder as aggravating factors.
Mitigating factors included the lack of a relatable previous conviction and that Miller seemed like a family man.