Murderer of Cooper twins has appeal heard in London – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Murderer of Cooper twins has appeal heard in London

Dennis Robinson, the man found guilty along with Kenneth Burgess of the 2005 killings of the Cooper twins, should have his murder conviction quashed, the Privy Council in London heard yesterday.

John Perry QC told a panel of five judges on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Bermuda's highest court of appeal, that the prosecution's case that Robinson aided Burgess in the murders was flawed on several grounds.

He said there was insufficient evidence that Robinson actively participated in the killings, and said the court had erred in not considering the two counts of indictment separately, with it not having been proved that Robinson was present when the fatal blow was dealt to one of the brothers.

“One waits with baited breath for the positive act by the aider,” he said.

Robinson's appeal was heard by the Privy Council after the Court of Appeal in Bermuda last year cut the time Robinson may have to spend in prison, but refused to hear an appeal on his conviction. Robinson, as the man who guarded the door while Burgess bludgeoned the brothers, may now serve a lesser minimum tariff of 12 years, not 15, due to his lesser role in the crime.

The Privy Council was scheduled to once more consider Robinson's sentence but yesterday held, in agreement with the parties in the case, that the matter of an appropriate sentence would be best reconsidered in Bermuda by Chief Justice Richard Ground, who was the trial judge when the case was first heard.

The Privy Council reserved judgment in Robinson's appeal, and will make a decision at a later date.

The judges declined a request from Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field, on behalf of the Court of Appeal, to consider whether the Bermuda court has the power to hand down sentences in excess of the current legislated 25-year maximum for pre-meditated murder.

Baroness Hale said she and the other justices felt the power to impose sentences that exceed legislative tariffs was an important constitutional issue that should be decided by the Court of Appeal for Bermuda, and then appealed to the Privy Council, if necessary.

The Court of Appeal had requested the Privy Council's guidance after murderer Ze Selassie was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years before the possibility of parole for killing 14-year old Rhiana Moore. Mr Perry, who is also acting for Selassie, argued that the sentence exceeded what was allowed under Bermuda law.

Dennis Robinson, one of the men convicted of killing the Cooper twins in 2005, is appealing his sentence.

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Published December 16, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 16, 2010 at 7:25 am)

Murderer of Cooper twins has appeal heard in London

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