Tucker’s sentence cut after appeal
A convicted murderer will be eligible for parole earlier than originally expected following a landmark appeal ruling.
Robert Blair Tucker was told the two years and seven months he spent in custody before he was handed a 15-year sentence for murder in March, 2004 will now be taken into account.
That means he can apply for parole in March, 2016 instead of October, 2019.
Tucker was convicted of stabbing and killing American drug dealer Stanley Lee to death on July 1, 2001, at Lagoon Park in Sandys. He was handed a life sentence by Puisne Judge Norma Wade-Miller which carries a minimum 15 years before he is eligible for parole.
Mrs Justice Wade-Miller did not order that the time Tucker spent in custody since his arrest in August, 2001 should be taken into account. However, defence lawyer Larry Mussenden argued at the Court of Appeal last month that she had the discretion to do so.
He also pointed out that the defence lawyer at the time, Larry Scott, did not request time served to be taken into account.
Mr Mussenden asked whether it was right that the appellant actually spend 17 years seven months in custody before being considered for parole or whether he should be eligible after 15 years as contemplated by the Criminal Code.
Crown Counsel Cindy Clarke opposed the application on the grounds that it was eight years out of time to appeal and that at the time of the sentencing, namely 2004, the only sentence for murder was life imprisonment along with serving 15 years before being considered for parole. Therefore, she said, the judge was not wrong in her sentence and it would not have entered her mind to order that time spent in custody should be taken into consideration.
Mr Mussenden told the court that Tucker has completed a violent offenders’ course since he was jailed and maintained jobs within Westgate in the medical and intake departments.
The three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal ordered that the time Tucker spent in custody before his trial and conviction be taken into consideration.
That means Tucker will now be eligible for parole after serving 15 years in prison rather than 17 years and seven months.
Mr Mussenden said: “The Court of Appeal ruled immediately in favour of the Appellant, stating that the statutory position now was that the court had authority to order that time spent in custody could be taken into consideration.
“Additionally, the common law position in 2001 at the time of the offence was that the Supreme Court judge could have exercised her discretion to order that time spent in custody to be taken into consideration”.
He also noted: “It may be that there are a few other imprisoned people in similar circumstances.”