Punishment must fit crime!

With no sentencing guidelines in place for murder, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Alliston Seale believes all sentences for that crime should start at 40 years.

And the Senior Counsel will be in the vanguard of advocating for such.

“Since we have no guidelines as yet for murder, no murder conviction should start with a sentence of under 40 years, especially in this era of deductions, reductions and discounts,” the prosecutor said, as he stressed that the death sentence was still on the books for certain murder cases.

“And then the prison gives you one-quarter off. So after all the discounts, when a man leaves here [court] with 20 years, that is really 15 because he gets one-quarter off when in prison,” he said.

“And we expect to dissuade people from committing crime? Call me old, call me stupid, call me what you will, but I still believe in the Good Book. We must be serious about sentencing and I will be an advocate for it especially with serious crimes like murder.”

Seale made the comments as he asked that the convicted killer, who caused “total mayhem” in New Orleans as he ran down, shot and killed one man and injured another in the process, be given a starting sentence of 40 years, plus an additional three for the aggravating features.

He was speaking as Anthonia Windgrove Ellis reappeared in the No. 4 Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Ellis, of Denny Road, Thorpes, St James, was found guilty of murdering Lorenzo “Pastor” Joseph on February 16, 2019.

He was represented by King’s Counsel Michael Lashley and attorneys Sade Harris and Zudie Payne during the trial but is conducting his own mitigation.

Deputy DPP Seale said while Ellis had no previous convictions, he had shown no remorse for his actions.

In fact, he added, despite the overwhelming eyewitness testimony, Ellis had issued a “half-baked apology”, all the while insisting it was someone else who fired the fatal shot.

“This wasn’t the run-of-the-mill murder that had two gangs in New Orleans. This started from a minor dispute. This was a senseless loss of life. This senseless loss of life must be reflected in the sentence and it is for that reason I submit a sentence of 43 years would meet the justice of the situation,” he said.

Seale said the offence had “clearly” crossed the threshold for the imposition of a custodial sentence. He added the way Ellis “perpetuated the crime” made it more serious.

“He ran him, pursued him. His intention was clearly to kill Lorenzo because when he [Lorenzo] lay on the ground, he went over him and shot him in the face. Hence, a sentence of imprisonment for life is one that is applicable in the circumstances.”

He said that while people spoke about the rehabilitation of the offender, very few remembered that someone had died.

“Murder is one of the most serious offences in the criminal justice system. There are no amends that can be made. You can’t pay back for a life. You can’t bring back the person. Even though we are in this season of Easter, resurrection doesn’t happen anymore,” he argued.

Seale noted that once the judicial system was serious about sentencing, the courts could not start with low thresholds.

“There must be a balancing act. If we want to dissuade people from committing crime, we have to punish them. We have become so soft on crime and then we ask what happened,” Seale said, adding he was seeing “a more violent society”.

“You can’t turn into a society that is so soft that you get a badge of honour for committing crime and people’s lives are being snuffed out.”

He also said the courts had to consider comparative sentences.

He said a man who commits murder should not get 20 years, while someone who commits serious bodily harm, conduct endangering life or drug trafficking gets 25 years.

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