Log In

Reset Password

Murderer told to go to appeal court to ask for conviction to be quashed on constitutional grounds

Right to appeal: convicted murderer Wolda Gardner (File photograph)

A murderer jailed for 25 years can challenge his conviction in the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice has ruled.

The move came after Wolda Gardner made an application to the Supreme Court in August for his conviction to be quashed because he claimed the jury selection process breached his right to a fair trial.

But Chief Justice Narinder Hargun rejected the application earlier this month on the grounds that it was not in the public interest.

But he said that Gardner could go to the Court of Appeal to ask for his conviction to be quashed on Constitutional grounds.

Gardner was jailed in 2015 for the killing of Malcolm Augustus on Christmas Eve, 2012.

Gardner lost a 2017 appeal against his conviction.

The rules on jury selection were amended last year after a challenge from Jahmico Trott, who was charged with attempted murder.

Prosecutors had earlier been allowed to stand down an unlimited number of potential jurors although defence counsel could challenge only three without reason.

Mr Hargun concluded in the Trott case that the jury selection system went against the principle of a right to a fair trial and the law was amended last summer.

Trott was jailed for 30 years in June for the attempted murder and witness intimidation.

Gardner later argued that his conviction should be set aside because his trial jury was selected under the old rules.

Mr Hargun said: “The applicant submits that the proper approach this court should take following its decision in Trott is that all previous convictions which are tainted with the objectionable provision … should be set aside by this court.

“In the ordinary case where an applicant seeks to challenge and set aside a criminal conviction following a trial in the Supreme Court the appropriate procedural route to make that challenge is by way of an appeal under section 17 (1) of the 1964 Act.

“Given that the applicant gains no juridical advantage by proceeding with his application under section 15 (1) of the Constitution, the court considers that the appropriate course for the applicant to take, if he wishes to pursue the constitutional challenge based upon the decision in Trott, is that he should do so by way of an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal under section 17 (1) of the 1964 Act.”

•It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.