Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
QUEEN'S COUNSEL Frank Phipps has said it was shocking that 55-year-old legal secretary Annette Livingston suffered an injustice that went unchecked in Jamaica.
Phipps was responding to the United Kingdom Privy Council's ruling on Monday, which set aside Livingston's conviction for the murder of prominent Kingston attorney-at-law Shirley Playfair.
Livingston had been in prison since she was convicted of the murder in 2003.
The Privy Council has ordered that the Crown must respond in writing within 28 days as to whether the case should be sent to the Jamaican Court of Appeal for a retrial. The Privy Council said if the prosecution was seeking a retrial, it must indicate in broad terms upon what evidential basis.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn said she will have to review the judgment and look at the file before she makes a decision.
"I will have to decide what path the interest of justice would best serve for all parties in the matter," Llewellyn said.
Livingston, of Buff Bay, Port-land, was convicted along with 33-year-old labourer Ramone Drysdale and 61-year-old taxi driver Ashley Ricketts.
Drysdale had applied to Her Majesty in Council for special leave to appeal against his conviction, but his application was refused.
Livingston, who was represented by Phipps, was granted final leave by the Court of Appeal in 2006 to take her case to the Privy Council.
However, because of financial hardships, they had to seek legal assistance from lawyers in England.
Phipps sought the assistance of John Perry, QC, a Jamaican who has been practising in England, and Perry argued the appeal for Livingston.
The Privy Council allowed Livingston's appeal because of a number of misdirections by the trial judge.
Livingston was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve 60 years before parole, while Drysdale was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve 55 years before parole. Ricketts was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve 45 years' imprisonment before parole.
The Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal and upheld the sentences of life imprisonment, but ordered Livingston and Drysdale to serve 35 years each before parole.
Ricketts' murder conviction was set aside and a manslaughter conviction was substituted. He was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment.
Common design to murder
Playfair was in her office at Seymour Avenue, St Andrew, on April 13, 2000, when men entered the office and slashed her throat.
Drysdale and 26-year-old Dwayne 'Amin' Williams, both of Metcalfe Road, Kingston 13, were the two men accused of using ratchet knives to cut Playfair's throat as she lunched at her desk. Williams escaped from custody on April 22, 2002.
The prosecution led evidence that there was a common design to murder Playfair.
Ricketts had driven the men to Playfair's office and the three men were held in Ricketts' motor car about 45 minutes after the murder. They were held with the knife that was used to murder Playfair. Playfair's blood was found on their clothes and the knife.