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Sentencing in 'Bunny' Francis murder postponed to May 13

Published:Saturday | March 27, 2021 | 1:25 AM

The sentencing hearing for the two men convicted for the 2011 murder of businessman Roderick 'Bunny' Francis has been postponed to May 13 in the Home Circuit Court.

The hearing, which was initially scheduled for March 25, was set back because of the unavailability of the presiding judge, Justice Georgina Fraser.

Dominican Republic citizen Carlos Batista and George Gardener were found guilty in January following an eight-week in camera trial.

Francis, 61, who was the CEO of B&D Trawling, had been attacked and shot shortly after leaving his home on June 25.

Following his death, the police arrested and charged Batista, Gardner, Sheldon Watson, and Newton Welsh.

However, at the start of the trial last October, the prosecution offered no evidence against Welsh.

Later that month, Watson changed his plea to guilty to accessory after the fact to murder and was sentenced on December 10 last year to two years' imprisonment, which was suspended for three years with supervision.

According to the facts of the case, Batista, a former employee of Francis, plotted with Gardner and at least one other person to kill his former boss.

The court heard that Batista had rented a motor vehicle which was used to stake out Francis' residence and was also used as the getaway vehicle.

Francis, on the day of his death, was ambushed along Queensway as he drove from his home.

However, his son, who was leaving home at the same time, challenged the assailants in a gun battle and shot at the getaway vehicle.

Batista consequently contacted Watson, who facilitated and assisted with the repairs of the getaway vehicle.