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CCJ reduces Barbadian man’s manslaughter sentence

May 13th, 2022

The Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reduced the sentence of a Barbadian man, who was serving a 16 year sentence for the killing of the mother of six of his children.

The CCJ, the island’s highest court, allowed the appeal filed by Elliston Mc Donald Greaves, and reduced his sentence for manslaughter to 12 years.

Greaves was charged with the murder of Cally-Ann Gill, with whom he shared a 13 year relationship, fathering six of her eight children. He admitted to killing Gill on December 22nd, 2015, after walking in on her while she was with another man.

The Court heard that Greaves threatened the other man, who subsequently left, and then scuffled with the woman. Despite being pulled away from her by the owner of the premises where they had been staying, Greaves went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed Gill, resulting in her death.

Greaves pleaded not guilty to murder when he appeared in the Barbados High Court on July 3rd, 2017 but guilty to manslaughter on grounds of provocation. This plea was accepted by the State and a year later he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment with the 928 days spent on remand being deducted, but it was dismissed.

However, at the invitation of counsel for the State, the Court of Appeal took the opportunity to revise the guidelines for sentencing for manslaughter to take into consideration the modern methodologies and approaches for sentencing set out in later decisions of the CCJ.

Mr. Greaves appealed to the CCJ arguing, among other things, that his sentence was contrary to the Penal System Reform Act , that his previous convictions were not personal aggravating factors warranting the increase of the starting sentence by four years, and that the sentence of 16 years was excessive, having regard to the Pierre Lorde Guidelines.

In its ruling, the CCJ found that his previous convictions were for minor offences that occurred decades ago and were not of a similar character to the offence charged. Therefore, they should not have been used to justify any increase of his sentence.

The CCJ considered that the case fell most closely into the category of the Pierre Lorde Guidelines which suggested that in a manslaughter case where no firearm was used, an early guilty plea should result in the range of sentencing of 10-14 years.

The Court of Appeal’s Revised Guidelines also justified this range of sentencing. The CCJ, therefore, allowed the appeal and imposed a lesser notional sentence of 12 years, from which the 928 days spent on remand must be deducted.

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