Gregory August Fights for Freedom before C.C.J.
There is an unprecedented challenge before the Caribbean Court of Justice. The case got underway today with President Justice Denis Byron presiding. Attorneys Eamon Courtenay and Ileana Swift are representing convicted murderer Gregory August. In 2009, August was charged for the murder of Alvin Robinson, an elderly resident of Eight Mile on the George Price Highway and in 2013 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The attorneys are arguing that the sentence is cruel and unjust and that August should be given a definitive prison term. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has been following this case and files the following report.
“You’re positive that based on the strength of the challenge your lawyers are putting forward on your behalf that the CCJ will rule favorably.”
“And if that is the case then you would have been the first and the only person to have successfully challenged a decision of the high courts that could affect everybody else in the Caribbean, because that’s what the CCJ stands for, every country within the Caribbean. How does that make you feel? How would you feel if you Greg August went all the way from the magistrates’ court when you were initially arraigned on this charge all the way to the CCJ to be cleared of the charges completely and set a standard now for all the countries that fall under the CCJ? How would that make you feel?”
“That wahn mek I feel happy, real happy too because every other court mek I feel like wah failure, from di magistrate right up just literally watch me eena my face and push me, push me, push me, right to the lowest dehn could push me. In the media, everything just feed that I guilty.”
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Convicted murderer Gregory August, condemned to life in prison in November 2013, for the brutal slaying of an elderly neighbor in the Eight Mile community, is fighting for his freedom in the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ. This morning, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay and attorney Iliana Swift appeared on behalf of the twenty-nine-year-old inmate who is appealing both his conviction, as well as his sentence.
Iliana Swift, Attorney for Gregory August
“Justice is not a rubber stamp. You need to take each individual’s case and consider it based on the facts that are available, based on the circumstances. It can’t be that every single situation is the same and therefore you all will be imprisoned for life.”
The case of Gregory August is a first for the Caribbean Court of Justice where his sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole, is being challenged. Arguments in that matter were laid out before the bench earlier today. Those points hinge on the fact that the prison term is cruel and unjust.
“I think there also needs to be some consideration that an individual needs to go through some type of reform, some type of rehabilitation. It’s not that we now lock people up and we threw away the keys. There has to be some continuous consideration that this is a human being we are dealing with and we need to consider what’s appropriate, considering the crime, considering the individual, considering the circumstances and based on all those considerations then you can impose justice.”
Also joining the case as an interested party is Alwin Gabb. He too is serving life for a murder that was committed in July 2007. While we were not able to speak with Gabb for this story, for August today is a moment of great presage based on his past experience with the CCJ bench.
“The first time I gaan eena di CCJ, di twentieth of April 2015 when dehn cohn da Belize, I feel justice eena da courtroom, that dehn different than di Belize jurisdiction judges. Dehn sih sohn kinda error due to the evidence weh dehn got me dah prison pan.”
“This is your final, this is your last, this is as high as it gets for you Greg August. So everything is riding on this. Are you confident that there will be a favorable outcome for you?”
“I confident that my Almighty God wahn lead my attorneys dehn into victory.”
In court today, Courtenay asked a few pertinent questions to open up the legal argument for his client.
Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Gregory August
“Did Mr. August get a fair trial? Was his defense presented to the jury in the summing up in such a way that the jury was able to understand, one: the conflicts, two: the inconsistencies, three: the case that the prosecution is presenting balanced against the case that the defense is presenting and to direct them. It’s a matter for you with respect to believing the evidence, he has given a statement from the dock and it has not been tested by cross-examination, you put what weight you wish to put on it but you must consider it.”
Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.