New Trials For Murder Convicts Tyson, Edwards & Baptiste

BVI Platinum News
April 24, 2018 6:37 am AST
Allen Baptiste, Yan Edwards and Alcedo Cedo Tyson
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The Court of Appeal has ordered new trials into two separate infamous murder cases, involving Alcedo ‘Cedo’ Tyson, Yan Edwards and Allen Baptiste.

In July 2013, Tyson was sentenced by former resident Judge Albert Redhead, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, involving the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Kawanna 'Kaykay' Todd-Rhymer. He was found guilty by a jury following a highly publicized trial.

Rhymer was gunned down in the parking lot of Deuces night club at CSY dock, Baughers Bay on March 16, 2012.

The Court of Appeal in its judgement said that Tyson’s conviction and sentence are hereby set aside.

“Pursuant to this court’ s power under Article 16(4) of the Constitution Order, the matter is remitted to the High Court for the appellant to be retried.”

Tyson, through his lawyer Patrick Thompson, had filed an appeal for both the conviction and sentence to be squashed on some 8 grounds. However, the first and only ground considered by the Appeal Court was that the Crown’s unlimited right to stand-by jurors made Tyson’s trial unfair and was in breach of his constitutional right to a fair trial.

The Court of Appeal Judges who sat on the appeal hearing were Davidson Kelvin Baptiste, Gertel Thom and Anthony Gonsalves, QC.

In his sentencing, Justice Redhead said that Tyson had no place in society.

"According to the doctor, that shot would have ended her life, but to make sure that you killed her, you stood over her and pumped another bullet in her while she was dying. You did so as to make sure she was dead,” the Judge said.

“You are a cold-blooded killer. You have no place in society; you will kill again if the opportunity arises; that is my view. One of the duties is to secure society from people like you.”

Keri Harrigan’s Murder

Meanwhile at a separate hearing, Baptiste and Edwards, who had appealed for their conviction and sentence to be thrown out, had their conviction quashed, sentence set aside, and a new trial ordered.

Baptiste and Allen were convicted in 2013 for the murder of Keri ‘Hank’ Harrigan, who was gunned down execution style in the Long Look area.

After being found guilty by a jury, they were sentenced by former resident Judge, Albert Redhead, to life imprisonment with no eligibility for parole.

It was the Crown's case during the High Court trial, that Edwards and Baptiste acted as part of a joint enterprise to plan Harrigan's murder.

During the trial, there were witnesses for the Crown, who testified to being around when the men were planning Harrigan's murder.

The Crown had put forward that Edwards was the ring leader and told Baptiste to "deal with Harrigan".

Attorney at Law, Patrick Thompson along with Andrew Morrison appeared for Baptiste, and Ms. Ruthilia Maximea for Edwards at the appeal hearing.

The Court of Appeal Judges were Mde. Louise Esther Blenman, Mde. Gertel Thom, and Mr. Douglas Mendes.

They appealed their conviction and sentence on several grounds, with the main ground being the judge’s s failure to give the warning required under section 112 of the Evidence Act of the Virgin Islands, in relation to the voice identification evidence presented by the Crown.

Both counsel for the men urged the Appeal Court not to order a retrial, submitted that considerable time had elapsed since the incident and the prosecution’s evidence was not cogent and compelling.

Lawyer Morrison also submitted that a retrial would afford the prosecution an opportunity to cure the serious evidential deficiencies in its case.

Kawanna Kaykay Todd-Rhymer and Keri Hank Harrigan
Photo Credit: Provided
However, the Crown submitted that having regard to the serious nature of the offence and the strength of the prosecution’s case, a retrial should be ordered.

The Court of Appeal Judges said that while the offence was committed six years ago, there was no indication at the hearing of the appeal that the appellants would not be able to get a fair trial or that defense witnesses are no longer available.

“The offence of which they were convicted is a very serious offence. The evidence against the appellants although it was not exceptionally good was not tenuous.”

The Judges further said that, in view of these circumstances, they believe that the interest of justice would be best served if a retrial is ordered.

“For the reasons stated above, I would allow the appeal, quash the conviction, set aside the sentence and order a retrial of the case.”

All three men remain on remand awaiting new trial dates.
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