Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
Man pleads guilty three years after Llewellyn prevented judge from reconsidering no-case submission
THE MAN whose murder case caused a furore in legal circles three years ago, when Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn stopped the trial, last week pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a dramatic development.
Llewellyn had entered a nolle prosequi (no prosecution), because the judge said she was going to reconsider a no-case submission after the defence had closed its case.
Warren McFarlane, 39, labourer of Freeman Lane, Kingston 13, whose case was at the height of the controversy in 2009, pleaded guilty last Thursday after medical evidence was given at his trial in the Home Circuit Court.
He changed his plea before the Crown had closed its case.
In responding to the outcome of the case, the DPP said when it was brought to her attention in 2009 that the judge was going to reconsider the no-case submission that was made a week before, she had no choice but to enter a nolle prosequi and prefer a new indictment.
She said at the time she regarded the situation to be most unfortunate, but the only thing she could have done was to stop the trial, because the Crown does not have right of appeal.
Power to appeal
Llewellyn has on several occasions called on the authorities to pass legislation so that the Crown can be given the power to appeal certain rulings and verdicts in criminal cases.
"There were persons who thought I was seeking to circumvent the judge's ruling, but those persons, unfortunately, were not in possession of all the facts," Llewellyn said.
She told The Sunday Gleaner that having been briefed by the prosecutor, she was confident that even on the defence case, the accused would be guilty of manslaughter.
According to Llewellyn, being informed of the judge's purported action at the time, she had no recourse but to stop the trial.
Llewellyn said her mandate is to protect the public's interest and so she had to have the courage to act in the interest of the public, which was what she did at the time.
The case was stopped in March 2009, after Supreme Court Judge Almarie Sinclair Haynes indicated that she was going to reconsider a no-case submission, which was made by defence lawyer Donald Bryan several days before.
Prosecutor Maxine Jackson was not called upon to respond to the no-case submission.
When Bryan started to address the jury after the defence closed its case, the judge called the lawyers into chambers.
The DPP was informed of the judge's intention and when court resumed, Jackson told the court that the DPP had entered a nolle prosequi.
Bryan has described the DPP's move at the time as an injustice to his client.
Llewellyn said then that, "It was a very unusual step that I was forced to take in the particular circumstances, but my duty to the public's interest would have had it no other way."
McFarlane was charged with the murder of 19-year-old Kadian Evans.
He pleaded guilty to the lesser offence last week and Justice Marva McDonald Bishop has put off sentencing until July 20.
The Crown, represented by Loxley Ricketts, assistant director of public prosecutions, led evidence that McFarlane had thrown a stone, which hit the deceased on the head and that resulted in her death.
Bryan explained that the doctor's evidence did not negate McFarlane's defence that he was chasing her when she stubbed her toe on a stone and fell, hitting her head.
He said it was on that basis that McFarlane pleaded guilty to manslaughter by flight, because there is the principle in law that if a person chases someone, which results in injury or death, then the person doing the chase would be culpable.