Why are these types of sentences not applied to gun criminals?
The trial in what must have been one of the most violent murder scenes ever, finally saw justice done when a combined sentence of 110 years was handed down by Judge Carol Lawrence-Beswick in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.
The accused were convicted and sentenced for the animalistic and inhumane stoning and chopping to death of a mentally disabled man, 29-year-old Stanley McLean.
The family of (5)accused, which included (1) Sixty-five-year-old Velma Dean, sentenced to life in prison must serve 30 years before being eligible for parole.
(2) Her husband, 69-year-old Joseph Dean, was also sentenced to life in prison and must serve 25 years before he becomes eligible for parole.
(3) Two of their children, Dwight and Richard were sentenced to 20 years in prison and will become eligible for parole after serving 12 years.
(4)Their sibling, Jermaine Dean, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and must serve 10 years before he is eligible for parole.
The deceased man’s father testified that he saw Velma standing over his son and chopping him mercilessly after which her sons tied a rope around his feet dragged him into the streets whereupon they set upon him and commenced chopping him.
We salute this judge [in this instance] for doing the right thing, considering that the death penalty is no longer being applied. Given this judges decision to make, I would personally have ensured that they never see the sun again, but that is just me.
This family’s barbarism and callous disregard for human life encapsulate in a real way how life is viewed in our country. That a family of five people would set upon and slaughter another human being, much less one of unsound mind is a testament to a derangement which is inexplicable. Equally shocking is that no one within that family stood up and said “no”.
The most shocking statement coming out of the trial is that of the family’s attorney Ernie Smith who said that the sentences were excessive but he ’s happy there is a Court of Appeal.
Sentencing a family to prison for brutishly and savagely slaughtering another human being, let alone one with a mental disorder, is viewed as excessive by an officer of the courts[sic].
A damning indictment on our sense of wrong and right, our sense of decency, morality and on our sense of humanity.
We will be watching this case further. In far too many instances cases which were appropriately decided over the years gets tossed on the slightest bit of technicality at the appellate level.
In more advanced democracies appeals courts generally do not disturb decisions handed down by lower courts, unless there is clear and unequivocal evidence of impropriety or new exculpatory evidence is unearthed.
Not so in Jamaica, mere allegations have demonstrably been enough to cause cases to be tossed at the appellate level, this gives rise to the question, are dollars changing hands and if so how much?
It appears many attorneys prefer to have their fights at that level which is curious on its face, why at that level? Are emotions less raw, are people less focused on cases after they have been decided at the trial level?
This writer does not have that evidence but I aim to find out why it is that out of the glare of the public’s eyes, and with the cases, less fresh on people’s minds are, attorneys more willing to fight like Custer’s last stand at the appellate level?