This Publication must highlight a Jamaican Judge who have not ceded his judicial authority on the altar of political or criminal rights expediency. We salute justice Lloyd Hibbert for his principled stance.
Justice Hibbert handed down two life sentences to Andrew Ennis, 24, construction worker and mechanic of 44 Highland Close, St Andrew, and Passmore Millings, also called Shane Brown, music writer and carpenter of Gregory Park, St Catherine. They were each sentenced to life imprisonment and 50 years before parole for the murder of 23-year-old Jhannel Whyte, and life imprisonment and 40 years before parole for the murder of Whyte’s boyfriend, 24-year-old Taiwo McKenzie. The sentences will run concurrently so the men cannot apply for parole until after 50 years.
Whyte and McKenzie were found with their throats slashed in Mount Salus, near Smokey Vale, St Andrew, on November 9, 2007.
In handing down the sentences, Hibbert said the murders were extremely distressing. The judge said that if people on King Street, downtown Kingston, were canvassed for the appropriate sentence, he was sure 90 per cent would say the men should get the death penalty. He said although the case could attract the death penalty, he had to look at the law and apply it along the line of the famous Jamaican case of Pratt and Morgan and see if the court would act in vain in passing such a sentence.
Hibbert said he would also have to consider, if the sentence of death was passed, if it would be carried out within five years given all the appellate processes. The judge said when he looked into all the circumstances which included the social enquiry report, the community reports and the antecedent reports of the men, he had to strike a balance and forgo the death penalty.
The Privy Council had recommended in the Pratt and Morgan case that if the death sentence was not carried out within five years then the sentence should be commuted to life.
McKenzie and Whyte were kidnapped on November 7, 2007, when they went to Havendale to deliver medical supplies to George Cooper, who was hit off a motorcycle by a car driven by McKenzie. Cooper, who was the main witness for the Crown, testified that when the couple came with the medical supplies they were tied up, gagged and led into bushes by the two accused.
Cooper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and rob the couple and is now serving an eight-year prison sentence.(http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120918/lead/lead6.html)
In a cesspool of insane criminal support from all sides to include the Judiciary, we are compelled to commend Justice Hibbert.
I am a constant critic of Jamaica’s Judicial system for its liberal almost insane decisions on the issues of Bail and sentencing of Jamaica’s deranged accused and convicted criminals. I am conversant that the laws are archaic, outdated and in most cases ineffective both as deterrent or punitively.
Despite the aforementioned, many Judges go our of their way to release criminals back onto the streets after they have been arrested and charged with heinous murders ,sometimes over and over and over again.
This has made the decision of Justice Hibbert more and more deserving of praise as he not only put the two scum-bags away for life without the possibility of parole before they have spent 50 years in prison.
Justice Hibbert calculated that under Pratt Morgan it would be possible that given the death sentence , with Jamaica’s criminal loving laws and society, these two degenerates would not be executed within the 5 year time span dictated by the UK Privy Council.
Given that scenario the two low lives would possibly be out of Jail in a few years.
I applaud Justice Hibbert on this common sense heads up approach,this kind of Judicial conscientiousness is rather rare in Jamaica.
I hope these two degenerates gets the ultimate justice while in prison , from their own kind.