by Donella Hosten
Prominent Attorney-at-Law, Anselm Clouden, is calling for the introduction and implementation of a Sentencing Act in Grenada, through which, sentencing guidelines will be provided and ought to be adhered to.
Clouden’s plea stems from a recent case where his client, now 61-year-old Albert Alexis, who was charged with Non-Capital Murder, was sentenced to life in prison. This, he said is ‘excessive,’ as there was no ‘malice or forethought involved.’
Taking into consideration, Alexis’ age and the argument of self-defence put forth by Clouden and his client, Clouden insisted that a life sentence is ‘exceedingly harsh.’
It is on the aforementioned backdrop that Clouden, on behalf of his client is seeking an appeal for re-sentencing. ‘The surrounding circumstances of the case itself, doesn’t warrant such a harsh sentence, notwithstanding the verdict,’ and, ‘as a consequence, we are appealing both the conviction and the sentencing.’ He ultimately went on to question exactly what a life sentence means: “Does it mean his natural life?”
According to Clouden, during the trial, he continuously argued self-defence on his client’s behalf, as he had received a blow to the head from the deceased, Alston Henry. Without eyewitnesses to the actual act, all evidence in this matter was based on circumstantial evidence and Alexis was found guilty by a 12-member jury. Clouden referred to cases of similar nature, in which, he said, the accused received termed sentences.
With respect to jurors, the criminal lawyer said, “there is the judicial study board’s direction that mandates the language that must be put to the jury, and any deviation from that language constitutes an unsafe conviction.” Therefore, he believes that jurors need at least a week in training to fully appreciate the legal concepts put forth by legal professionals.
Alexis was sentenced on Friday, 27 October 2017, and is currently at the Richmond Hill Prison, awaiting word on the status of his appeal.