Brooks and co-convict head to Appeal CourtMonday, March 22, 2021
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Lawyers for convicted murderers Dantay Brooks and his co-accused Andre Hinds say they will be heading to the Appeal Court in hopes of having the judgement handed down last Friday by Supreme Court Judge Justice Leighton Pusey overturned.
Brooks, who is the son of dancehall artiste Mavado, and Hinds were in January this year found guilty of the 2018 murder of Lorenzo “Israel” Thomas in Cassava Piece, St Andrew, as well as arson and illegal possession of firearm. The two, who were tried before Supreme Court Judge Justice Leighton Pusey, were on Friday sentenced to life behind bars for that murder in which they, while in the company of three others (who were not before the court), torched the home resulting in Thomas's body being burnt beyond recognition and his father, who witnessed the incident, having to flee.
Brooks, who was 16 at the time of the murder, will serve 22 years before being eligible for parole for murder. He was also sentenced to 20 years for illegal possession of firearm and 15 years for arson.
His co-accused, Hinds, who was 23 at the time of the incident, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. He will not be eligible for parole before 17 years. He was also sentenced to 15 years at hard labour for illegal possession of firearm and 15 years at hard labour for arson. Both received discounts for time already spent in custody.
Brooks was represented by attorneys Peter Champagnie, QC; Oswest Senior-Smith; and Tamika Harris. Hinds was represented by attorney Kemar Robinson.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer in the aftermath of the sentencing on Friday, Robinson said, “My instructions are to appeal the conviction. In terms of the sentence, the sentence is more than reasonable in the circumstances, we take no issue with the sentence, but what we take issue with is the conviction.”
Robinson said his client is maintaining his innocence. “In this case we couldn't appeal [both sentence and conviction] because the sentence is reasonable, so there is no basis on which to do so. But if the appeal against the conviction is successful, then the sentence falls as well,” Robinson said.
“We are of the view that the evidence does not support the conviction...there are a lot of issues in the case that we think were unresolved, a number of things,” he stated.
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