Grant v R

JudgeBlair-Kerr, P.,Duffus, J.A.,Luckhoo, J.A.
Judgment Date11 March 1980
Neutral CitationBS 1980 CA 15
Docket NumberCriminal Side No. 30 of 1979
CourtCourt of Appeal (Bahamas)
Date11 March 1980

Court of Appeal

Blair-Kerr, P.; Duffus, J.A.; Luckhoo, J.A.

Criminal Side No. 30 of 1979


Criminal Law - Appeal against conviction (Murder)

Judgment of the Court:

The appellant was convicted of murder and burglary. As he was then aged 17, he was sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure. No sentence was passed on the burglary count. He now appeals against his convictions and the order made in respect of his conviction for murder.


The deceased, a Mr. Charles Bethel, was an elderly man who lived in a small wooden house on Sunlight Cottage. Two persons who knew him testified that on 5th January, 1979 they saw him, apparently alive and well, standing at his doorway. One of these witnesses, Rosemary Newbold, who was visiting her mother in Sunlight Cottage said that at about 4.30 a.m. on 6th January, 1979 she was awakened by the sound of a cutlass chopping wood and that after this noise stopped she thought she heard Mr. Bethel's voice.


The other person, Lease Strachan, who lives at Sunlight Cottage, said that at 8.30 a.m. on 6th January she went to the deceased's house and saw him leaning over a bucket, and that his hand was chopped up. She called to him; but he did not answer; and so she called the police. Sergeant Hanna testified that he arrived at the deceased's house at 8.57 a.m.; that he saw the deceased in the bedroom in a sitting position on a bucket. He saw several large cuts on his left wrist, on the back of his left hand and on his left knee. There, was a cutlass on a chair near the body. Part of the door on the south side of the building was missing. A piece of wood, which was lying in the yard near the door, matched the space in the door. Before Sergeant Hanna accompanied the body to the mortuary, it was photographed by the police photographer who also photographed the deceased's house. The body was also photographed by the police photographer at the mortuary on 8th January, 1979. All the photographs were produced in evidence. Sergeant Hanna said that on 8th January, at the mortuary he spoke to Dr. Joan Read and that she gave him certain information.


The prosecution called a witness named Mange Rolle who said that on 24th February, 1979 she was walking with the appellant and that when they came to a yard between Lifebuoy Street and Sunlight Cottage, the appellant said to her. “Mange Rolle I out a man's life right in this yard;” that he said that he and a fellow named Shadow went to rob a man nicknamed “take your time,” that the man put up a hassle and that they had to out his life. She said that the house depicted in the photo taken by the police photographer was the house indicated to her by the appellant as the house where he had killed the man.


On 6th March 1979, Mange Rolle, who had been arrested for shoplifting, told the police what the appellant had said to her on the 24th February as a result of which the appellant was arrested. He was interviewed by Sergeant Hanna on 8th March told that he was suspected of causing the death of Charles Bethel at Sunlight Cottage on 6th January. After caution, the appellant said that as he and a person named Junior McKinney were walking through a yard they heard a man in a house making a lot of noise; that they “yucked” open the door; that the man started to hassle; that the man had a cutlass and that he (the appellant) had to chop him.


The appellant agreed to make a statement which was recorded by Sergeant Hanna in the presence of Mr. Edwards, the Deputy Provost Marshall and clerk of the Supreme Court. The material part of the statement reads as follows:–

“When we” (i.e. he and Junior McKinney) “was walking through a yard on Sunlight Cottage we hear this person's voice inside one house making a lot of noise. Junior and me decide to stop and check it out. Junior gone to the back door and tried to yuck it open. He yuck off a piece of board from the door. The door still did not open because the door was rotten. He throw down the board and yuck the door again. This time the door came open. The man who was inside the house came charging at us with this cutlass. Me and...

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