February 1 is the date set for the sentencing of British national, Alexander Robert Clack who has been convicted of non-capital murder for the June 17, 2014 death of his 27-year old wife Nixiann Clack of Duquesne, St Mark.
Clack, who is also a Grenadian citizen, was 32 years old when he reportedly killed his wife and dumped her body in a suitcase in a shallow grave in Mt. Moritz.
The accused was found guilty of non-capital murder by a 12-member jury, which turned in the unanimous verdict just 2 days before Christmas on December 23, bringing an end to the murder trial, which lasted for approximately 6 weeks at the No. 2 High Court in St. George’s.
Defense attorney, Anslem Clouden expressed dissatisfaction with the verdict handed down to his client, labeling it as “germane to the provision of the law in Grenada dealing with murder.”
“We expected a verdict of Manslaughter, because from the evidence there was no intention to kill,” Clouden told reporters gathered outside the courtroom.
Lead State Prosecutor, Howard Pinnock later told THE NEW TODAY that even though Clack is charged with non-capital murder the jury could have found him guilty of manslaughter “if they are not sure that he intended to kill his wife or was acting under provocation.”
Clack had reportedly “confessed” to killing his wife in a statement made to investigating officers.
However, in his unsworn statement, the now convicted British national claimed that the confession given to the police “was not of his free will.”
The trial took a different turn as Clack claimed that the police officers “beat him to confess,” and the presiding Judge, Justice Paula Gilford held a mini-trial in the absence of the jury to determine if the statement given to the police was done voluntarily or involuntarily.
A total of 8 witnesses were called to the stand to testify during the mini trial (apart from the 10 witnesses called for the Prosecution in the main trial).
Justice Gilford determined that Clack was not ill-treated but freely confessed to killing was considered as part of the evidence.
According to the autopsy report, Nixiann suffered from 18 separate injuries and died from manual strangulation and blunt force injuries.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the deceased was beaten in multiple places of her upper body, suffered brain damage and bleeding in the brain, trauma to the chest, which resulted in bleeding in the lungs and injuries to the back and shoulder.
The incident allegedly took place on the sixth Anniversary of Nixiann’s marriage to Clack and the same day after she threatened to move from their home in Calliste back to her hometown with their 2-year old daughter due to an abusive relationship.
The body of the 27-year-old was discovered by police officers in a shallow grave in the hilly Mt. Moritz area of St. George’s.
Attorney Clouden maintains that there was nothing in the evidence to prove that his client had intent to kill and expressed confidence that he has a strong case for an appeal.
“We await the sentence…depending on the outcome, (and) then we would take the necessary steps to ensure that justice is done to Mr. Clack,” he said.
According to Clouden, one of the areas to be explored for appeal is the disclosure of certain information, which he claimed would have been helpful to his client.
“I would say unequivocally now, that one police witness said that there was information on Clack’s iphone and ipad, that if disclosed would have been beneficial to him (Clack) but they haven’t disclosed it…am not speaking prosecutorially…these items were in the hands of the police and they ought to have disclosed it,” Clouden said.
The outspoken attorney-at-law pointed out that “disclosure is one of the aspects that appellate courts frown on when it’s not disposed to accused persons.”
“We sadly have such an incident here with respect to this case,” Clouden said.
Following the announcement of the jury’s findings, a request was made by Clack’s defense for 2 reports, a special inquiry report or a pre-sentence report and a psychiatric report.
Clouden said the request is a “normal and necessary course to be taken when sentencing is to be pronounced.”
”There is a sufficient measure of jurisprudence (that) it is mandatory that before (a) sentence is passed on an accused person he or she must be given an opportunity to mitigate the sentence to be heard in his defense, where mitigating and aggravating circumstances could properly be adduced before the judge to determine the appropriateness of the sentence” that is intended to be administered, he explained.
Murder carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment but the sentence handed down by the judge can vary depending on the circumstances of the case.