Court upholds Bassett conviction
The conviction of gunman Marico Bassett has been upheld after the Court of Appeals ruled former Chief Justice Richard Ground was right to admit gang evidence.
However the court altered Bassett’s sentence after ruling the judge had erred in ordering the convicted shooter serve half his sentence before being eligible for parole.
Bassett was found guilty of shooting 44-year-old Randy Lightbourne seven times during a daylight attack outside the Charing Cross Tavern in July 2010.
The court heard Bassett, who was 19 years old at the time of the incident, was a member of the Sandys-based MOB gang.
He was convicted after a trial and sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted murder and ten years imprisonment for using a firearm, with both sentenced to run consecutively.
Bassett, through lawyer Saul Froomkin, appealed both his sentence and conviction, arguing that gang evidence should not have been admitted and the sentence was manifestly excessive.
According to the recently released written judgement, Mr Froomkin had argued that the Chief Justice had erred by allowing gang evidence from Police Sergeant Alex Rollins and Mr Lightbourne, calling the evidence more prejudicial than probative.
He further argued that the Chief Justice had erred in law by admitting DNA evidence found in the home of Bassett’s girlfriend.
The court had heard that a search had revealed a plastic bag containing cocaine and a second containing bullets. The bag containing cocaine had the appellants’s DNA, but the bag containing bullets did not.
However the Court of Appeals ruled that the Chief Justice did not error in admitting gang and DNA evidence against Bassett.
“The Jury was directed that evidence that the appellant was a member of the MOB gang was not evidence that the appellant was the shooter,” the judgement stated. “We are satisfied that having regard to the circumstances of the case, the trial Judge was not in error in exercising his discretion to admit the evidence.”
Regarding sentencing, the Crown conceded that the Chief Justice had erred in law by ordering Bassett serve 12.5 years before being eligible for parole.
According to the Criminal Code, Bassett would have to serve half of his sentence or ten years, whichever is less, before being eligible for parole.
As a result, the Court of Appeals amended Bassett’s sentence to state that he is eligible for parole after serving ten years of his sentence.