Bahamas Court Upholds Lenient Sentence in Gay Murder Case
Lenient sentence of three years probation stands for man who shot his room mate in the head because the room mate made gay advances toward him.
The courts of the Bahamas, said to be littered with corruption and incompetence, have further reinforced that perception by making another foolish decision that could set a dangerous precedent.
An appeal by the Attorney General's Office against an "unduly lenient" sentence handed down to a man who shot his room mate in the head after the room mate made a gay "advance" toward him has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.
President of the Court of Appeal, Joan Sawyer, said Latherio Jones' sentence of three years probation for the 2004 killing of Trevor Wilson should stand because the convict has already spent nearly five years awaiting trial in prison. Further, Jones was 18 years old at the time of the shooting and the judge felt that he had been "provoked" to commit the violent act by his victim's sexual advance.
Jones was convicted in 2009 of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation for shooting Wilson.
The Court of Appeal consisted of justices Joan Sawyer, Christopher Blackman and Stanley John. The trio reached their verdict on the Attorney General's appeal against Jones' sentence on May 31, 2010.
In defending the assinine ruling on behalf of the court, Sawyer added that the senior judges rejected the AG's appeal because there was "no dispute by the Crown that there was a homosexual advance to (Jones) shortly before he shot (Wilson) and that it was not the only such advance."
"It was pointed out to (attorneys representing the Attorney General's Office) that had (Jones) killed (Wilson) immediately, that would be a case of self defence, because one is entitled to use whatever force is necessary to prevent one's self being the victim of a homosexual act," stated Sawyer.
However, Jones apparently did not kill Wilson immediately, or in self-defense. He allegedly planned the murder of Wilson, making it a premeditated act for which he recieved nothing but probation.
And people wonder why crime is spiralling out of control in the Bahamas?
The dismissal of the Attorney General's appeal against the lenient sentence given to Jones came as a surprise even to some in the corrupt Bahamian legal community, depsite the fact that criminal activity is rarely punished in The Bahamas. One criminal lawyer pointed out that the crime of manslaughter should carry a prison sentence of between 10 and 35 years.
The socially destructive lenient stance taken by the Court of Appeals reminds some legal observers of the case of Frederick Green-Neely, the Bahamian who stabbed Dale Williams to death in 2005. He was acquitted in a ridiculous court decision in 2008. Green-Neely, 25, admitted to the killing of Williams, who was allegedly gay and known to be HIV-positive, after Williams "grabbed his genitals" and told him he had a crush on him.
Green-Neely's attorney, Dorsey McPhee, suggested during his client's trial that he was "defending his manhood" when he stabbed his victim three times, and thus William's death was "justified" - a sentiment with which the perverted Bahamian jury agreed, letting the accused walk free.
The outrageous ruling sparked international outrage, especially among local gay rights activists. A gay news site located in the UK highlighted the case as another example of the successful and worrying use of the "gay panic defence."
In The Bahamas, gay and human rights activist Erin Greene said she too was disturbed by the decision of the jury to acquit Green-Neely. Greene said she believed it sets a dangerous precedent when "homosexuality is used as a justification for murder" in The Bahamas.
It is possible that the Court of Appeal's foolish ruling on Jones' sentence could be appealed further to the Privy Council, but costs may prohibit that action.