Man guilty of perjury has sentence increased
A man convicted of perjury and witness intimidation has had his sentence extended after an appeal.
Dujon Reid-Anderson was convicted alongside his cousin, Devon Hewey, of causing a witness to give false evidence in an attempted murder case in which Hewey was a defendant.
While both men unsuccessfully appealed their convictions according to a recent judgment, the Court of Appeal found that the three-year sentence of Reid-Anderson was manifestly inadequate, increasing the sentence from three years to five years.
The charges stem from a 2014 retrial in which Hewey and another man were charged with a 2012 shooting on Reid Street.
During the retrial one of the alleged targets, Lavon Thomas, testified that he knew Hewey and knew he was not one of the men involved in the attack — something he had not said in the original trial.
Questioned about his evidence by police, Mr Thomas said that both Reid-Anderson and Hewey had spoken to him about his evidence. Hewey allegedly offered Mr Thomas $3,500 to change his evidence, while Reid-Anderson met with him and sent Mr Thomas threatening voice messages. Both men were subsequently charged with a series of offences in connection with the incident and convicted after a Supreme Court trial.
During their appeal, defence lawyer Simone Smith-Bean, representing Hewey, argued that there was no case to answer on the perjury charge and that Hewey was prejudiced by the trial judge's behaviour towards his counsel, claiming that the judge continued to interrupt and give unnecessary objections throughout the trial.
While Mrs Smith-Bean provided 16 transcript references to support her claims about the judge's behaviour, the Court of Appeal found that none of the examples — collectively or individually — supported that ground of appeal.
The panel also dismissed the suggestion that there was no case to answer, noting: “Thomas' statements were sent from Hewey via Reid-Anderson to Thomas highlighting passages that might be utilised to assist Hewey's defence, together with the piece of yellow paper attached with Hewey's written instructions. Thereafter Hewey spoke to Thomas about changing his statements and giving ideas about the changes that could be made.”
The court noted that the evidence provided by Mr Thomas in the retrial matched what was written on the yellow paper and was “manifestly different” from evidence given in the original trial.
Meanwhile, Arisha Flood, representing Reid-Anderson, argued that voice notes left by her client should not have been admitted into evidence without the voice note responses of Mr Thomas.
However, the Court of Appeal judgment said the panel was unconvinced that the defence application to receive the voice notes from Mr Thomas' phone was anything more than a “fishing expedition”.
“The defence was not able to give any reasons why they required additional information from Mr Thomas' mobile phone other than they were entitled to know what was on it,” the judgment stated.
“That is not so, and the judge was fully entitled to refuse the application.”
During the hearing, prosecutor Carrington Mahoney argued that the sentences of both men were manifestly inadequate — Hewey had been sentenced to six years in prison, while Reid-Anderson was sentenced to three years.
The judgment stated: “The appropriate sentence for Hewey would have been one of seven years' imprisonment.
“We think the sentence of six years was on the low side, but not so low as to be regarded as manifestly inadequate.
“On the other hand, we think the sentence of three years in the case of Reid-Anderson was far too low and did not adequately reflect the features [of the case], or the need for deterrent sentence for offences of this kind.
“Had a sentence of seven years been imposed on Hewey, we would have expected a sentence of six years for Reid-Anderson to reflect that he was not the instigator, albeit an enthusiastic participant. Bearing in mind the sentence for Hewey is to remain at six years, we increase the sentence for Reid-Anderson to one of five years so as to continue to reflect the difference in responsibility.”