Convict’s lawyer slams DPP for historic appeal
As Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn prepares to appeal the “unduly lenient” sentencing of a reputed gangster convicted of two murders, the man’s lawyer is accusing Jamaica’s chief prosecutor of bringing the judicial system into disrepute.
Llewellyn is capitalising on The Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, new legislation that allows for prosecutorial appeals. The law became effective with the governor general’s assent on November 2.
Lindell Powell, a former member of the notorious King Valley Gang in Westmoreland, was sentenced to 12 years in the Hanover Parish Court on December 2. He will become eligible for parole in 10 years.
Powell’s attorney, Dionne Meyler Barrett, has defended the sentencing period, arguing that her client has already spent four years in jail.
Meyler Barrett has accused the DPP of grandstanding, describing the press statement issued December 2 by the chief prosecutor as “sensationalism, half-truths, one-sided and skewed to no doubt engage and enrage the public”.
“They also failed to advise the public that it was their suggestion to the judge that the sentences run concurrently instead of consecutively,” she said.
Under the Criminal Justice Administration Act, which facilitates plea bargains, sentences can be discounted by up to 50 per cent.
Powell admitted to killing Oral McIntosh on Saturday, January 7, 2017, and Ida Clarke on Sunday, March 26, the same year.
Meyler Barrett has called for the repeal of the prosecution’s power of appeal.
The defence attorney has also blamed the system for failing her client, who she alleged was forced into a life of crime under duress at age 18 by a high-ranking King Valley gang member.
Meyler Barrett said her client could have been used as the Crown witness in the King Valley Gang case, which the Office of the DPP lost earlier this year.
“A high-level gang member was charged jointly with Lindell Powell for one murder and by himself with two other murders and a sexual offence crime, but it was the director of public prosecutions herself who appeared in the Westmoreland Circuit Court on June 28, 2021, and freed them of all the charges,” the attorney said.
In her defence, Llewellyn said the witnesses refused to give evidence.
“We didn’t have a case,” she told The Gleaner.
Last week, Llewellyn labelled Justice Betram Morrison’s 12-year sentence of Powell as shocking - which was cause for her to seek recourse in what will be a historic first prosecutorial appeal.
But Justice Morrison’s decision has been backed by the Cornwall Bar Association, whose president, Michael Hemmings, said the judiciary has the capability to assess each case on its merit.
“If it is that the judge deemed that the man should be sentenced to 12 years to be served concurrently, it must have been appropriate based on the mitigating and aggravating factors presented at court,” said Hemmings.