Four men freed by Court of Appeal
Webbe’s appeal dismissed, sentence confirmed
By Terresa McCall
BASSETERE, St. Kitts – A large crowd had gathered at the Charlestown Pier in Nevis anxiously awaiting the arrival of four young men who were yesterday freed by the Court of Appeal from convictions and sentences handed them by the High Court of Justice.
The men, Kishmoy Challenger, Ashton Williams, Jermaine Freeman and Ashley Freeman, along with Marius Webbe, all of Nevis, were charged with the March 5, 2004 slaying of 16-year-old Eric Weekes.
Throughout the trial of the matter at the Nevis Circuit Court of Justice, it was the prosecution’s contention that the five men chased the teenager while he was in attendance of the Charlestown Primary School’s Sports Day and stabbed him to death when he got in the vicinity of Superfoods in Charlestown.
They were convicted on April 12, 2006 at the Nevis Circuit Court of Justice and while Webbe was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment with hard labour, Challenger was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, J. Freeman to 25 years imprisonment, Williams to 20 years imprisonment and A. Freeman was also sentenced to serve 20 years imprisonment.
Notices of appeal were filed on behalf the men to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal before which they appeared yesterday.
The argument forwarded to the court by Webbe’s counsel, Hesketh Benjamin, was that there was not enough evidence to convict his client; and the advancement made by the counsel of the other men, Adrian Scantlebury, was that there was not enough evidence to support the prosecution’s theory of “joint enterprise”, which made it unsafe for the case to go to the jury.
Justices of Appeal Gordon, Edwards and Hariprashad-Charles ruled that the appeal for Challenger, A. Freeman, J. Freeman and Williams be allowed and the convictions and sentences imposed by the High Court quashed, as they are of the view that there was not enough evidence to support the “joint enterprise”.
The Justices of Appeal however ruled that there was enough evidence against Webbe for the case to have gone to the jury, and his appeal was dismissed and sentence confirmed.
The four men, whose appeals were allowed, left the courtroom free and hours later when they disembarked the ferry that took them to Nevis, they were greeted with open arms by their relatives and friends.
Webbe was taken back to Her Majesty’s Prison where he will continue serving his sentence.