Murderers in court of appeal

| 21/11/2010

(CNS): The two men convicted of murdering local activist Estella Scott-Roberts will return to the courtroom Monday morning. The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal is set to hear from lawyers representing Kirkland Henry and Larry Ricketts why they believe the convictions should be quashed. The grounds of appeal have not yet been revealed for the two men, whose cases will be heard separately. Both men were found guilty of the murder of the Cable & Wireless executive after a judge alone trial before the chief justice in February. Henry had pleaded guilty to kidnapping, robbery and rape but not guilty to murder, accusing his co-defendant Ricketts of the killing. Ricketts pleaded not guilty to all charges, insisting he was not there on 11 October 2008 when Scott-Roberts was murdered.

Ricketts had, however, made a confession to the police soon after his arrest and the chief justice said in his verdict that he was no doubt that Ricketts’ confession had been made freely and had not been concocted by the police as Ricketts had claimed when he took the stand. The judge also rejected Henry’s claim that while he was at the scene of the crime he had not participated in the murder and had told Ricketts he wanted no part in killing their victim. “I do not accept he made any attempt to withdraw from the criminal enterprise,” the chief justice stated before he indicated he was satisfied that Henry was also guilty of murder.

The badly burned body of Estella Scoot-Roberts was discovered in her own burnt out car in the Barkers area of West Bay on Saturday, 11 October 2008. She was last seen alive on the night before, when shehad dinner with friends at Deckers restaurant on the West Bay Road. The two men had abducted her from the parking lot at around 1pm that night.

Both men, who are Jamaican nationals, are serving life sentences at HMP Northward. At the time of their arrest in 2008 the men were living in George Town, where Ricketts worked as a carpenter and Henry a gardener.

Although both men were tried for the murder and Henry pleaded guilty to three other charges, Ricketts is still listed to face trial for abduction and robbery. This case was set for October but the trial was postponed until after the appeal.

Alongside his life sentence, Henry also received 20 years for rape, 15 years for abduction and 13 years for robbery and he is also appealing those sentences.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Abeautiful life was destroyed in such a horrible way for what some may consider self gratification. From what I understand, these individuals were treated very fairly throughout the whole time since they were arested. I am not sure that they have been that remourseful. It would be interesting to know the driving force behind their appeal. They have shown such little value for human life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You don’t want to give British Nationals rights in Cayman – they have the same policies applied to them as all other foreigners – so WHY send the criminals to England? why should they take them? why should the tax payers there pay for them?

    There needs to be some respect for Equality here, in justice, in punishment, in human rights……..

    This isn’t ‘our’ country, or ‘your country’ and Jamaica isn’t ‘their’ country. Since when did you own there you were born? We have no rights over the countries we live in we are merely guests who need to respect our habitats and those that live with, near and around you. 

    Perhaps if we all focused on being good people and not been consumed by race, religion, rights – the world would be a much better place for all of us to live in!


  3. MER says:

    It is a waste of time, money, energy, paper, court space, staffing and everything else that will be involved with the appeal for these men. I don’t even think they should have been eligible for an appeal in the first place!

  4. Cat says:

    Not England, Send them back home to their own coutry to serve their sentences. I’m sure the prisons are worst there.

    I think that’s what should happen to any non-caymanian prisoner that commits the most serious crimes such as murder,rape & kidnapping. Make them go home with-out pardon so they can never return.

    It angers me when anyone goes to someone else’s country(not just Cayman), they are given the chance to make a better life for themselves and family, and then they thank the host country by breaking their laws,destroying peace and cause pain to the families they’ve affected and their own.

    It makes me sick.

    When you go to someone else’s country, respect them and their laws and keep the peace. If you want to reak havoc and unrest, stay home in your own country and do it there. That also goes for some of our troubled young Caymanians. Don’t go to the states and elsewhere,deal and buy drugs and firearms and destroy your lives and embarass your families,and break their laws.

    Get a grip of yourselves.

  5. Anonymous says:

    One of the principal flaws in our sentencing system is the use of concurrent sentences for violent crimes. Had these "appellants" been sentenced to consecutive terms of 50 years for each of their crimes the profound waste of money which is about to occur would not happen in relation to at least one of them. That is only part of the problem.

    We need to reform our laws to double the current penalties for violent crimes, to end parole for violent crimes, and to make sentences for violent crimes consecutive not concurrent.

  6. Anonymouse says:

    If I dont ever agree with the Premier on anything, I have to give him credit on his stance regarding Legal Aid.

    Here we have Lawyers bringing an Appeal for Murderers who have been convicted, if for no other reason but to cost me and other struggling people more money.

    I sincerely hope that the Lawyers who are bringing these appeals are doing so voluntarily and not at the expense of the poor Caymanian people.

  7. michel lemay says:

    Now this is what I call a waste of time and money.WHY so long. So we can supply them a QC from England. Send them home Personna none Grata in a highly publicise way and let them get a fair trial where they come from or in a hard labour camp. With all the publicity and horrible crime they have committed no one here want to represent them( sorry not innocent until proven guilty on this one. Too many persons were hurt on this hideous crime and as the Holiday’s are approching that’s all I want for Christmas and i am certain many others as well. Justice will be difficult to be served on this one here.And please no Human rights comment on this one because Estella was denied of hers. Place them in the hands of God but far away.Sorry if I feel no sympathy on this issue but I will ask God for forgivness,and please publish this and allow me to sign my name.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Send them home Personna none Grata in a highly publicise way and let them get a fair trial where they come from or in a hard labour camp.With all the publicity and horrible crime they have committed no one here want to represent them( sorry not innocent until proven guilty on this one".

      I agree with the rest of your post but I don’t understand these comments. It seems clear to me that they did obtain representation and presumably the appeal was lodged by attorneys. I have no reason to believe that they did not receive a fair trial. They were tried by judge alone, namely the Chief Justice who is a Jamaican national.     


  8. A Torney says:

    I think this headline shows an interesting effect of the media reaction to a verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty", namely that the verdict is conclusive of whether the accused in fact committed the crime.  That treatment is, of course not reflective of reality.

    Many people are found "not guilty" when they committed a crime but the evidence to prove it was not there.  Yet upon acquittal the media treats them as innocent, not only as a matter of legal proof (which is all that has been determined) but also as a matter of fact (which has not been determined) .

    True, fewer are convicted when they are in fact innocent, which reflects the arguably too high burden of proof placed on the prosecution.

    However this headline identifies these men as "murderers", which is true in the sense the have been found guilty of murder.  But what happens if their appeal is succesful?  Immediately they become innocent.

    The interesting fact about a succesful appeal is that the underlying fact of whether the accused did or did not commit the crime is not affected by the result (it can’t be affected as a historic fact), but the media’s treatment of the individual would give the impression that it was.  The media equate the Court’s finding of guilt or innocence as determinative not only of the legal issue of whether guilt has been proved, but also of the fact of whether the accused did commit the crime.

    Say an appeal was successful, (I am talking hypothetically here, not about this case).  The headline after the appeal could read "innocent men freed after Court holds conviction wrongful".  (Let’s park the impact of re-trials for the moment). 

    I think that we are often too quick to equate legal determination with the truth.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Unbelieveable!!!!!  You have got to be kidding…..  appeal ??? On what grounds??? 

  10. Concerned says:

    I just hope the Government/Judicial/House of Assembly/people, will consider sending these men to England to serve their sentences.  Cayman is not the place for Long time risk prisoners.

    • Anonymous says:

      I feel a prison in Cuba would be the proper place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why England?

      • Anonymous says:

        09:21,  I suggest send them to England, because we do have the man power/means/accomodation/stragetic planning to house these kind of criminals here.  The people of Cayman do not want them here either.  They are high risk prisoners.  And yes if we can send them to Cuba, that  is even better, but they should not  remain here to complete their sentence.

    • Anonymous says:

      England? You’re far too kind.

      I think Cuba or Jamaica would be more suitable.