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Jun 27, 2014

Court of Appeal determines the fate of Lavern “Anti Christ” Longsworth

Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth

Four years after being behind bars for dousing and setting her husband on fire, Lavern “Anti-Christ” Longsworth heard her fate. This afternoon, she smiled on the docks as President of the Court of Appeal Justice Manuel Sosa read the decision of the court to her. Longsworth was convicted of the murder of her common-law husband, David White, in November 2012. Last week, the Court of Appeal set aside that conviction for murder and replaced it with manslaughter after her attorneys argued that she was suffering from Battered Women Syndrome. Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, recommended a sentence of ten years, less time served. Longsworth’s attorneys, Godfrey Smith and Lesley Mendez, asked for Longsworth to be released on time served. Today’s ruling was handed down at just after two p.m., and it was good news for Longsworth. As she was escorted from the courtroom she told her son, standing nearby, that she loved him, while Mendez, explained the ruling of the court.

 

Lesley Mendez, Attorney for Lavern Longsworth

“The decision of the Court of Appeal is that it substituted the verdict of manslaughter in substitution to a verdict of murder and they substituted a verdict of eight years for manslaughter.”

 

Reporter

“So how much time will she actually have to serve with time on remand and time already spent?”

 

Lesley Mendez

Lesley Mendez

“Miss Lavern will at most serve around approximately four and a half years because the court stated that it will take into account the time that she has already served.”

 

Reporter

“Will you consider that this is a victory for your client?”

 

Lesley Mendez

“Well we are content with the verdict; we definitely do think that justice was served as the court did clearly take into account the mitigating circumstances in Miss Lavern’s case. And so we are satisfied with it, while it was not what we had suggested to the court, we are grateful that they showed some mercy and showed some leniency on Miss Lavern.”

 

Reporter

“This case will open new grounds in the Battered woman situation; you think it’s going to affect a lot of cases in the Caribbean and elsewhere?”

 

Lesley Mendez

“Well, there is already one case in Trinidad and Tobago dealing with Battered Woman Syndrome and here we had one but as I mentioned previously I don’t know how well it was understood with respect to diminished responsibility. But this is definitely a first before the court of Appeal in Belize.”

 

Reporter

“Is this expected to be it, do you expect the D.P.P. to appeal this sentence today, the decision today?”

 

Lesley Mendez

“Well I don’t want to be too bold but I don’t believe that the D.P.P. will be appealing, because what she had suggested was ten years and the court gave eight years. So I think it is within the discretion, the reasonable discretion of the court what they did with the sentencing.”

 

The court was lenient in not only taking into account the time served on conviction for murder, but also the time Longsworth spent on remand since 2010. After her murder conviction was reduced to manslaughter, White’s mother said that her son was in fact the victim of Longsworth. 

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