The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has served notice that it will appeal yesterday's 12-year sentence handed down to a man who had confessed to two counts of murder.
The appeal is being filed for the first time since the passage of the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2021 on November 2.
According to the ODPP, “The main basis of the appeal is that the sentence handed down was unduly lenient and inadequate, given the circumstances of the cases.”
In a news release, the ODPP said Lindel Powell, otherwise called Lazarus, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder when he appeared in the Westmoreland Circuit Court on November 17, 2021 before Justice Bertram Morrison. The matter was transferred to the Hanover Circuit Court for sentencing on December 2, 2021 where he was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment at hard labour. He must serve 10 years before parole on each count.
Outlining the case, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn, QC, said Powell was taken into custody after being held with a firearm belonging to Oral McIntosh, a licensed firearm holder, who was shot dead at his home at Top Lincoln District, Grange Hill, Westmoreland on Saturday, January 7, 2017.
During a question and answer interview held on July 15, 2017, Powell indicated that he was in the company of Logan Miller, otherwise called Alkaline (now deceased), on the day of the murder.
Powell confessed that he and Alkaline were on the road robbing men and women when he saw two men in a yard. He went to them and said “go pon unnu face”. While the men were on the ground, he searched McIntosh's van while Alkaline searched the men. He said that Alkaline found a gun on McIntosh, shot him in his head, and took the gun. They also took the slain man's phone and about $32,000 in cash.
Powell also confessed to the murder of a man named Ida Clarke in March 2017 at Mount Mountain, Grange Hill, Westmoreland.
When he was asked what part he played in that murder he said, “Fire five shot inna him chest.”
He also stated that Clarke was killed because “him did a mek talk seh mi cousin Bleachers cyaan bury an den mi a go dead an him already kill one a mi fren', Jabez”. Additionally, Powell said that the gun that the police found on him on July 14, 2017 was one of the weapons used to kill Clarke.
According to the DPP, defence counsel Dionne Meyler-Barrett, in mitigation, said that Powell was forced to participate in these and other criminal activities out of fear. She also said that the Government and society had failed him.
Before handing down the sentence, the judge said, “It goes down as one of the saddest cases that I have ever heard,” the DPP stated in the release.
He added, “Although, you were 18, you were still an adult.”
In responding to the defence counsel's point about the Government failing Powell, the judge said, “We failed him because we didn't catch him primarily. The Government didn't tell him to do that. The Government didn't tell him to put five shots in a person's chest. He failed himself and society.”
According to the DPP, the judge went on to read from the social enquiry report, saying, “Not raised to be a religious person and never exposed to religious services. This is the problem. No moral upbringing.”
He added that he is a member of society and said, “In Jamaica, as we speak, murder has become a way of life for certain sections of society. They show no conscience for fellow humans. No conscience at all.
“You have to serve some considerable time. Five shot you fire in a person's chest. When you squeeze that firearm, is not toothpaste come out of it, enuh. The firearm which killed him was found on you.”
The judge then sentenced Powell to 12 years' imprisonment at hard labour and said he must serve 10 years before parole on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently, meaning that in respect of both counts the convict will serve 10 years in all.
“After hearing the sentence that the judge was minded to impose, the deputy DPP indicated on the record that on the occasion when the plea was being entered the Crown had made a recommendation regarding a sentence of life imprisonment with eligibility after 21 years for each count,” the DPP said in the release.
The judge, the DPP said, responded by saying he would be proceeding with the sentence.
But the deputy DPP indicated that the sentence of 12 years' imprisonment would “shock the public's conscience”, given the nature of the offences. The judge then handed down the sentence of 12 years.
The DPP said after the matter was disposed of, her deputy returned and indicated that she had spoken with Llewellyn who directed that the court should be put on notice that the Crown will be appealing the sentence, under the Judicature (Appellate Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Act, 2021.
“The notice of intention to appeal was indeed indicated to the court on the record,” the DPP said.
Llewellyn also said that Powell had accepted having two previous convictions for illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition for which he was convicted on August 21, 2019 and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment at hard labour on each count.