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Jun 10, 2014

Was Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth suffering from Battered Women Syndrome?

Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth

Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth appeared in the Court of Appeal this morning along with her attorney Godfrey Smith.  Longsworth was previously convicted for the murder of her common-law-husband, David White, after she threw gasoline on him and lit him on fire. Today, Smith made a submission on behalf of his client for the charge to be reduced from murder to manslaughter, claiming that ‘Antichrist’ was suffering from Battered Women Syndrome. The new evidence came in the form of affidavit from two experts, Doctor Gillian Mezey, a British based consultant forensic psychiatrist based in England and a local expert Amy Jex, who is a psychologist. The experts’ conclusion of Longsworth’s condition at the time of the incident was accepted by the Court of Appeal.  Attorney, Godfrey Smith explains.

 

Godfrey Smith, Attorney for Lavern Longsworth

Godfrey Smith

“This morning, basically, we sought to adduce fresh evidence which was not available at Supreme Court when Lavern Longsworth was first tried. And that fresh evidence was essentially the professional evidence of psychiatrists and a psychologist to the effect, putting it simply, to the effect that at the time, Lavern Longsworth was suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome, which could be defined as an abnormality of the mind. And which, where it is present would result in what is called diminished responsibility so that she would not be fully responsible for her actions and that would result in the reduction of her sentence automatically from murder to manslaughter. So basically all that was achieved this morning was that the court accepted this new fresh evidence, the professional, psychiatric reports that Lavern was suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome. The importance of that, beyond what I’ve said about the reduction of sentence, is that it is the first time I believe in Belize, maybe even in the Caribbean where Battered Women Syndrome will not form a part of criminal proceedings in relation to its impact on available defenses. The court having accepted that it will accept this new evidence, we then pointed out to the court that the position of the Director of Public Prosecutions Office was that they were not challenging out submissions in relation to those projects. We then invited the court to exercise the call which it has to automatically reduce the conviction from murder to manslaughter and proceed to exercise its power to sentence. The court has asked us to confer and to come up—both the Public Prosecution Director and myself—to advance a position to the court as to what that sentence should be.”

 

Longsworth was previously tried before Justice Adolph Lucas in the Belize City Supreme Court for murder.  She was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

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1 Response for “Was Lavern ‘Antichrist’ Longsworth suffering from Battered Women Syndrome?”

  1. history minded says:

    How could she afford Smith as lawyer? Must have money. What’s the ‘occupation’?

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