New trial ordered for murder convict

Published: Monday | March 16, 2009

Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

The Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for 38-year-old cosmetologist Janet Douglas of Ziadie Gardens, St Andrew, who was convicted in May 2005 for the murder of the wife of a policeman.

Douglas was convicted in the Home Circuit Court of the murder of 32-year-old dressmaker Isloyn McGill of Cornpiece district, near Hayes, Clarendon.

The Crown had led evidence at the trial that jealousy was the motive for the murder because Douglas had a love affair with police Sergeant Glen McGill, Isolyn's husband.

The body, bearing stab wounds, was found in bushes at Hillyfield district in Clarendon on November 24, 2000.

Douglas was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. She was ordered to serve 25 years before parole.

Protracted dialogue

The court ordered a new trial because of a protracted dialogue between the trial judge and the prosecutor as to what was the evidence. The dialogue took place in the presence of the jury and the court said that should not have happened.

The court also referred to comments made by the judge on the failure of the applicant Douglas to respond to certain questions posed by the police. It was the court's ruling that those aspects of the case had a negative impact on the fairness of the trial.

The Court of Appeal, comprising president Justice Seymour Panton and Justices Howard Cooke and Mahadev Dukharan, said, "The to-ing and fro-ing between him (the judge) and counsel for the Crown as to what was the evidence and what should have been said to the jury" should not have taken place in the presence of the jury.

Douglas was represented on appeal by Dr Randolph Williams.