The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in the appeal of a man convicted of killing a man with a hatchet in 2007.
Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Gillian Lucky and Malcolm Holdip said it would take time to consider the case after they heard submission from lawyers representing Vishnu Beharry and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) during a virtual hearing, yesterday morning.
In 2016, Beharry was convicted of murdering Samuel Jordon on April 9, 2007.
In his appeal, Beharry’s lawyers Sophia Chote, SC, and Peter Carter are claiming that the trial judge, who presided over the case, made errors in summarising the case to the 12-member jury, which eventually convicted their client.
Presenting submissions, Chote claimed that the judge focused on Beharry claiming an alibi when in fact he contended that he was provoked and acted in self-defense.
As a secondary issue, Chote claimed the judge failed to convene a voir dire (trial within a trial) to determine whether an alleged confession statement was properly obtained by investigators, as based on the evidence Beharry had an eye injury from the incident and was only taken for medical treatment after he spoke with police.
Chote also challenged the evidence of psychiatrist Professor Gerard Hutchinson, who police asked to assess Beharry before the interview.
She claimed the judge allowed Hutchinson to go beyond his remit as his evidence served as a confession because he (Hutchinson) repeated statements made by Beharry during his mental health evaluation.
Responding to the submissions, attorney Travers Sinanan, who represented the DPP’s Office, suggested that even if the alleged errors did not occur the outcome of the case would have been the same based on the totality of the evidence before the jury.
He also defended Hutchinson’s role as he noted that he was merely giving the c0urt an assessment of his interactions with Beharry.
The Appeal Court did not give a date for its judgement as the appeal panel would inform the parties when it has completed its consideration.