A High Court judge has imposed heavy jail sentences on four men found guilty of murdering and beheading a woman and her daughter eight years ago.
Justice Viviene Harris on Wednesday defended her decision to impose the maximum jail term on the four men noting that the women had been slaughtered with less dignity than animals butchered in the island’s abattoirs.
The four – Kemar Riley, Adrian Campbell, Roshane Goldson, and Fabian Smith –were charged with the brutal July 19, 2011 murders of Charmaine Rattray, 40, and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith Lynch, at their home. Campbell, Goldson and Smith had earlier pleaded to non-capital murder at the start of the trial in November,.
A fifth man, Sanja Ducally, who is Riley’s cousin, walked free after his lawyers made a successful no-case submission on his behalf.
In delivering her sentence, Justice Harris said “to say these women were butchered would be an unjust comment about butchers in Jamaica because even animals are treated more humanely than the two women who were savaged that night”.
She said the ordeal the women suffered that night “did not end in their houses” as their heads were carried elsewhere and “discarded like garbage”.
Justice Harris said that while the Criminal Justice Act makes provisions that where a defendant pleads guilty to the offence of murder the court may reduce any sentence it may impose by up to 25 per cent, the legislation also provides for the court to use its discretion by considering a number of factors relating to the case.
“I have taken the liberty of looking at a number of cases coming out of the Court of Appeal, and I have not seen any case in the Court of Appeal where two persons were killed and beheaded, so it is clear that in this multiple murder the normal range of sentencing starting at about 25 years, going up to as much as 45 years,” she said.
She sentenced Campbell to life imprisonment with hard labour, making him eligible for parole after serving a minimum 44 years.
“Duress is no defence to murder…the fear for your own life or family will not acquit you of the crime and punishment you will receive. You said you had no choice but I believe you did in the friends you chose,” Justice Harris said.
Goldson, the cousin of Lynch, was also given a life sentence with hard labour and will be eligible for parole after a minimum of 46 years.
“You were given a knife and a machete and told by the ‘general’ to kill the women, you used violence on the diseased (Lynch), you chopped her five times and she screamed out your name; you always had a choice,” the judge said.
Smith was also given a life sentence with hard labour and will serve a minimum 44 years before being eligible for parole
“I have looked at your letter of apology, I have taken into consideration your age at the time. While the community said positive things about you, they felt you should be imprisoned because you should have run away from the moment you were told of the plans (to kill the women)”.
Riley was slapped with life imprisonment at hard labour, and will serve a minimum 52 years before being eligible for parole.
“You were given a firearm which you used to shoot Lynch. There will be no discount in your case. You shot and killed Charmaine; I am adding 20 years to the starting point of 45 years,” the judge said, also discounting the time already spent in custody.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn described the case “as one of the most heinous cases I have prosecuted”.
“It was a consistently sustained sinister execution and total breach of the human rights of Joeith Lynch and her mother. It was premeditated and clearly done to send a message of intimidation and fear to the rest of the community,” she said.