Last year, Kiahna Trott-Edwards was found guilty of murdering Shijuan Mungal, 16, by striking him around the head with a baseball bat during a confrontation outside her Warwick home in September 2014.
She was later jailed for life by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons, who ordered that she serve a minimum of eight years behind bars before being considered for parole.
However, on Wednesday, Court of Appeal judge Geoffrey Bell said there had been a “regrettable series of errors”, including Justice Simmons “adopting a dictatorial attitude” and not being prepared to listen to submissions by defense counsel Courtney Griffiths in the absence of the jury.
The judgment written by Court of Appeal president Sir Scott Baker, added that another error was a failing by Griffiths to put to prosecution witnesses an integral part of his client’s defense, “namely that the deceased had ducked before the second blow was struck”.
Justice Bell added that prosecuting counsel also failed to engage with counsel for the defense, who was trying to explain that the failure was not the appellant’s fault.
“Thereafter the trial proceeded on a false footing,” Justice Bell continued.
“Prosecuting counsel continued to cross-examine the appellant on the false basis that fabricated the contention that the deceased had ducked when she was in the witness box, when in truth she had not. The same point was made in the prosecution’s final speech and by the judge summing up.”
Justice Bell then ordered a new trial and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Larry Mussenden asked that the matter be mentioned at the September arraignments.
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