Appellate Court overturns murder convictions, orders retrial

The Court of Appeal on Monday overturned a four-year-old murder conviction against Ray Yokum, Steffon Campbell and Faisal Moore- the three men who were each sentenced to 80 years imprisonment for the May 09, 2012 murder of 26-year-old Glen Xavier.

The three men were found guilty of the offence by a jury in 2017 following a trial before Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court in Demerara. They subsequently filed an appeal challenging their conviction and sentence on several grounds, among them was that the trial judge failed to adequately put their defence to the jury for consideration.

Delivering the court ruling on Monday was Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings Edwards who said that after reviewing the records of appeal it was found that the trial judge did fail to adequately put the defence of the men to the jury. The Court of Appeal also found that certain directions the judge gave to the jury amounted to a misdirection.

Having regard to the foregoing, the Appeal Court overturned the men’s conviction for murder and ordered that they face a new trial at the next practicable sitting of the Demerara Assizes. Senior Counsel Stanley Moore and Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes appeared for the three accused men, while Senior State Counsel Natasha Backer appeared for and on behalf of the prosecution.

Xavier of Harlem, West Coast Demerara was shot and killed by three men who stormed the Cornbread Mini Mart at D’Urban and Lime streets, Georgetown around 9 pm on the day in question. The men who were armed with guns robbed the business of an undisclosed amount of cash before making good their escape on motorcycles.

Xavier who was shot in his chest and left hand was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. His cause of death was given as haemorrhage and shock, due to gunshot injuries. Another man was also injured during the robbery.