Davis v R

CourtCourt of Appeal
JudgeGanpatsingh, J.A.
Judgment Date13 July 2005
Neutral CitationBS 2005 CA 248
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No. 2 of 2005
Date13 July 2005

Court of Appeal

Sawyer, P.; Ganpatsingh, J.A.; Osadebay, J.A.

Criminal Appeal No. 2 of 2005


Simeon Brown, Esq, with Carlson Shurland, Esq, counsel for appellant.

Jillian Williams, attorney-at-law, with Olivia Pratt-Nixon, attorney-at-law, counsel for respondent.

Criminal law - Manslaughter — Appeal against conviction — Appellant's defence not put or not adequately put to the jury — Appellant deprived of the opportunity for an acquittal — Appeal allowed — Conviction set aside.

Ganpatsingh, J.A.

The appellant appeals against his conviction for the offence of manslaughter, the victim being Robert Nelson Pratt, on the 1st of September, 2000.


The facts, in short compass, are that on the morning in question, the appellant had been imbibing alcohol, firstly, at the Ruby Swiss Restaurant and later at Les Fountains in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Sometime around 6:00 a.m., he called for a taxi, and that taxi, it would seem, was driven by the deceased. It may be that the appellant was in an intoxicated state as a result of his drinking, we do not know; but, in the taxi, he fell asleep or, as he put it, he dropped off to sleep.


In the record of interview given to the police and relied on by the prosecution, he said that he was later awoken by a male making some advances towards him, and there was a fight inside of the vehicle which ended up outside of the vehicle. He then took a stone and knocked the deceased a few times in his face. That record of interview gives the impression that at the time when the deceased was struck with the stone, twice on the head, the appellant was standing and the deceased was lying on the ground.


The forensic testimony is that the deceased died from a fractured skull as a result of blows to the head. The appellant was charged with the offence of murder. As I indicated earlier, the jury convicted him for the offence of manslaughter.


In his defence, the appellant gave a slightly different version. He said he entered the taxi and asked the deceased to take him to Windsor on the Mall and that he fell asleep in the taxi. He awoke to find himself in a different direction from which he wanted to go, in some bushes by a road. He said he felt the hand of the deceased on his thighs, in his trousers and in his crotch, and the deceased was saying to him, “Let's get it on. Let's get this over with.” His version was that he pushed him away, but he came again and the deceased hit him behind the head. He fell between the seats of the taxi, and the deceased continued to hit him in his back whilst his head was down.


At some point in time, the deceased exited the vehicle and was walking around the front area of the van, and he got out and met him at the right-hand side at the front headlights. The deceased raised his hand with an object in it, swung it at him and it grazed his forearm; and there was some evidence before the jury of an injury to his forearm. He said he grabbed the deceased by the left hand and started to hit him. They wrestled. The deceased hit him on the shin, and whilst wrestling, they fell to the ground. On the ground, in the struggle, there was a stone right next to them; he grabbed the stone and hit the deceased twice on the head. That was his version.


It is clear that on the prosecution's case, the evidence on the issue of self-defence was very weak, tenuous, as opposed to the issue, as it arose, on the evidence of the appellant from the witness stand.


The medical evidence clearly established that the injuries received by the appellant behind the ear and on the...

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