Sheldon Lynch, who was handed two life sentences for raping a girl on two separate occasions, will now have to be retried after his convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal of Guyana.
Back in March of 2018, Lynch, who is in his 50s, was given two consecutive life sentences, after the unanimous finding of guilt by a jury for the charge of rape of a child under 16 years.
Trial Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall had ordered that he must spend a minimum of 35 years on each conviction before becoming eligible for parole.
In his appeal, Lynch’s legal team led by Attorney-at-Law Ronald Daniels, had contended that, among other things, his defence of alibi was not adequately put to the jury and that the sentences imposed were manifestly excessive and not in keeping with modern sentencing guidelines.
In a judgement handed down on Wednesday, the appellate court held that it found merit in Lynch’s appeal, having sided with most of the grounds of appeal advanced by his lawyers.
“[Lynch’s] defence was not properly put by the trial Judge to the jury. The issue of alibi clearly arose and it was not treated at all by the trial Judge. When the case was given to the jury for their determination…. they were not specifically directed in relation to the issue of an alibi,” noted acting Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who read the ruling.
In light of its findings, the Court of Appeal set aside the man’s convictions and life sentences and remitted the matters to the High Court for him to face a new trial.
He was accused of committing the crimes between December 2010 and November 2011.
Meanwhile, Lynch has another appeal pending against a third conviction for the offence of rape of a child under the age of 16.
He was also found guilty on this charge in 2018 by a jury following a trial before Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, who sentenced him to imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
This crime was committed by him on August 22, 2015, against a girl. The Court of Appeal is yet to set a date to hear arguments concerning this matter.