The Court of Appeal has ruled that the 10-year sentence imposed on Kingston businessman, Howard Gowdie, for manslaughter arising from the shooting death of his ex-wife’s lover, will not be overturned or reduced.
Gowdie, who is from Beverly Hills in St Andrew, was initially charged with murder stemming from the shooting death of popular businessman Shango Jackson on July 12, 2012.
However, Gowdie was convicted on June 13, 2016 on the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by Supreme Court judge, Justice Evan Brown, on July 22 of that same year.
Gowdie had appealed the conviction on the grounds that “the learned trial judge’s directions on the issue of lawful self-defence” lacked “clarity and simplicity”, which resulted in the jury being left “not merely confused, but also (more particularly) unsure, as to how properly to treat with the applicant’s defense (of self-defense).”
According to information from the ruling posted on the Appeal Court’s website, the convict’s attorney, Delano Harrison, also argued that his client was denied of a fair trial because of comments made by the trial judge.
Harrison further purported that Justice Brown “erred in his direction (of) leaving manslaughter for the jury’s consideration as a possible alternative verdict in relation to the charge of murder.”
In their decision handed down last Friday, Appeal Court judges, Justice Paulette Williams, Justice Patrick Brooks and Justice Frank Williams, disagreed with the grounds of Gowdie’s appeal. They noted that the trial judge gave the jurors “clear and concise” directions on the law of self-defense.
In relation to the ground of appeal, which stated that “the sentence of ten (10) years’ imprisonment is manifestly excessive,” the Court of Appeal dismissed the claim.
“Ultimately, it cannot be said that the learned trial judge failed to apply the appropriate principles of sentencing. He took all the pertinent matters into consideration. It is not reflected in the record of his very extensive comments that the learned trial judge allowed the general public interest to prevail over the interest of the applicant. The sentence he eventually imposed fell within the range of sentences usually given for such an offence,” the ruling stated.
The judges in their decision further added: “In all the circumstances, the sentence cannot be regarded as manifestly excessive and there is no basis for this court to interfere with the sentence imposed.”
It was reported that in July 2012, Gowdie shot Jackson three times during a dispute at the premises they lived at 50 Shenstone Drive, Beverly Hills in St Andrew.
The prosecution led evidence that there were two houses on the premises and Gowdie lived in the house at the back of the premises with his girlfriend, who was Jackson’s ex-wife. Jackson lived in the house located at the front of the premises with his girlfriend and his brother.
On the day of the fatal shooting, there was a dispute between both men and Gowdie shot Jackson with his licensed firearm.
Gowdie had claimed he acted in self-defense, because Jackson attacked him and was attempting to remove his licensed firearm.