The High Court has adjourned until next month the sentencing of 62-year-old Albert Alexis for the May 2015 stabbing death of 31-year-old Alston Henry of Mt. Pleasance in St. Andrew.
The sentence was scheduled for last week Thursday on the non-capital murder charge but was put back until August 28 by the presiding judge, Guyana-born Madam Justice Paula Gilford.
When the matter came up at the No.2 High Court on The Carenage last week, the female judge indicated that she was occupied with other pressing matters and took a decision to adjourn the matter to Monday.
During the scheduled hearing, veteran defense attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden made certain submissions on behalf of his client, requesting additional time to investigate some statements made in the pre-sentencing Social Inquiry Report (SIR).
Clouden felt the report was “very inaccurate” and bias against Alexis and does not give a true picture as it relates to the kind of person his client is.
Justice Gilford acceded to the request and even though the May 2017 assizes closed on Monday gave a commitment to hear the matter during the court’s vacation time on August 28.
Following Monday’s court session, Clouden later told reporters that the report contains “rather adverse comments” on the character of his client and that he “subsequently discovered that some of them (the persons who made the adverse statements) have personal vendetta” against his client.
He said the names of those persons involved were not revealed so they could not have been called for cross examination.
“…It was in that context that the Social Inquiry report was flawed, because it created a handicap for counsel and a lack of proper and accurate information for the court”, he added.
Pointing to the importance of his submissions, the criminal defense attorney noted that “the sentence the judge, would have to administer – a sentence in some measure based on the (bias) report – she would have received from the social inquiry officer.”
Clouden is confident that the adjournment to August 28 will allow him enough time to “make diligent inquiry as to who the persons were and also bring our own personnel for direct examination and possibly for cross examination”.
A nine-member jury on May 20 unanimously found Alexis guilty of non-capital murder in the death of 31-year-old Henry, who died following multiple stab wounds to his body, after an altercation with Alexis over a piece of land.
An autopsy report revealed that Henry died as a result of hypovolemic shock due to a stab wound to the chest.
Attorney Clouden had failed in his multi-faceted attempt to convince the jurors that Henry’s death was either by accident, manslaughter as a result of provocation, or an act of self-defense on the part of the now convicted man.
He had also pointed out that “the evidence was clear that the deceased (had) attacked the now convicted man, (who) responded by pulling the knife he had in his pocket after peeling fruits (and) that the victim had ran into the knife.
Alexis faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the offense.