Convict detained at court's pleasure
Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter
A JUVENILE who was convicted three times for murder before he was 18 years old, was successful in his appeal against his sentence of life imprisonment. The convict, 29-year-old, Damion Thomas, also called 'Cuttist', will instead be detained at the court's pleasure.
Thomas had filed an appeal, claiming that he should have been detained at the court's pleasure when he was resentenced in 2006 for the murder of Donovan Brown, which was his third conviction. The offence was committed in February 1998.
Thomas was first convicted on April 14, 1997, and ordered detained at the governor general's pleasure. He was convicted of the second murder on February 11, 2000 and was subsequently sentenced to hang. He was also sentenced to hang for Brown's murder.
When he was resentenced in 2006 to life imprisonment, the judge ordered that he should serve 25 years before he was eligible for parole. Thomas was resentenced under the Child Care and Protection Act.
Attorney-at-law Nancy Anderson, representing Thomas, submitted in the Court of Appeal that when Thomas was resentenced he should have been ordered detained at the court's pleasure, in accordance with the Juveniles Act, which was the relevant law when Thomas committed the offences.
She argued that section 20 (7) of the Constitution prohibited the imposition of a punishment more severe than any available at the time of the commission of the offence. The Court of Appeal upheld the submissions and said the judge ought to have determined the appropriate sentence having regard to the date of conviction.