By FARRAH JOHNSON
THE Court of Appeal has upheld the 40-year murder sentence of a man accused of a nightclub killing in 2014, while overturning a similar sentence of another man accused of committing the same crime.
Milargo Humes and Anthon Meadows were accused of murdering Taran Greenslade at High Rollers Club in Coral Harbour on December 1, 2014. The men were convicted on March 26, 2018, and Humes was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment. Meadows, on the other hand, was sentenced to 40 years minus the two years and three months he spent in custody awaiting trial.
While both appealed their convictions, Justices Jon Isaacs, Roy Jones and Milton Evans chose to dismiss Humes’ appeal on the grounds that the jury could convict the appellant since gunshot residue was found on his hands. Still, the justices chose to quash Meadows’ conviction, due to “concerns regarding the safety of the verdict” against him.
According to a judgement posted on the Court of Appeal’s website, sometime after midnight on the night in question, the appellants, along with Gabrielle Rolle, went to the High Rollers Club in Coral Harbour.
That night, Ms Rolle danced with the appellants as well as her friends Jamaal Johnson and Taran Greenslade, who she met at the club. However, at some point, a fight occurred and Meadows and Humes, along with another person, were observed beating Mr Greenslade while he was on the ground.
Meadows and Humes then went over to Humes’ vehicle, which had been parked at the front of the club by Ms Rolle, where they retrieved something from the hood of the car. They then went to the crowd where Mr Greenslade was and a short time later, a gunshot was heard. The court documents said Meadows was seen putting a gun in his waist at the time. The three men then went to Humes’ vehicle, got in and told Ms Rolle to drive off. Mr Greenslade died at the scene.
About an hour later, Humes and Meadows were arrested at the latter’s residence. They were interviewed and both denied being in a fight or killing Mr Greenslade. Still, the men did admit to being at the scene of the crime. They were subsequently charged and convicted of Mr Greenslade’s murder.
In his appeal, Humes argued that “the verdict was unreasonable and could not be supported in regard to the evidence provided”. His counsel also suggested that the trial judge erred when he failed to “warn the jury to approach the testimony of the hostile witnesses with caution”.
Still, in reviewing Humes’ case, the justices concluded that “although there was no direct evidence that the appellant Humes shot the deceased, given the circumstantial evidence, in particular the evidence of the residue on his hands the jury could on one view of the evidence convict”.
“In these circumstances, I am of the view that this ground of appeal must fail,” the court documents read. “This finding would in my view also dispose of ground two as for the same reason on one view of the evidence the jury’s verdict cannot be said to be unreasonable.”
In his appeal, Meadows argued that the trial judge failed to give an “accomplice warning suitable to the testimony of Gabrielle Rolle”, since the judge did not give directions on the dangers of relying on a witness who was considered to be “hostile”.
In the judgement, the justices noted: “The evidence against Meadows was similar to that against Humes but not quite the same. Meadows, unlike Humes, admitted being involved in a fight although he too denied the shooting. Additionally, the witness Jessica Charles was adamant that she saw Meadows who was previously known to her put a gun in his pants waist after the shooting.
“The video recording shows both appellants going over to the car where they appeared to take something from the hood of the car shortly before the shooting occurred. It was significant, however, that Jessica Charles did not see Meadows fire the gun and when tested no gunshot residue was found on his person.”
The justices concluded they found “one fundamental concern” which arose out of the evidence provided by Gabrielle Rolle.
“The Crown was not able to establish from the evidence who did the actual shooting and had to rely on the principle of joint enterprise taking the position that the two men were ‘in it together’. However, as noted earlier Gabrielle Rolle had given the police a statement which contained damaging information against Humes.”
The court documents said that in her statement, Ms Rolle told officers that Humes and Meadows were involved in a fight with Mr Greenslade and that Humes went to the car to get a gun from under the car seat. She said that he later returned to the scene of the fight and a short time after, returned to the car with Meadows.
Ms Rolle also alleged that Meadows scolded Humes in the car and told him he didn’t have to shoot Mr Greenslade because they were beating him. At the time, Humes was said to have responded in a manner which acknowledged that he had shot the deceased.
“However, when Gabrielle got to court she denied the veracity of some parts of the contents of the statement,” the justices noted.
“Her explanation was that she had been arrested by the police for the murder and was prepared to say anything at the time to be released from custody. Additionally, she claimed to have been drunk and was not sure of what transpired that night. She further denied that the police accurately took down what she said to them that night.”
As a result of this fact among other concerns, the justices admitted they did have some apprehensions over the “safety of the verdict” against Meadows’ murder charge.
“This is not a case where in my view the proviso is appropriate as depending on what view a jury properly directed takes of the evidence of Gabrielle Rolle will determine the guilt or innocence of appellant Meadows,” the judgement read.
“I would therefore quash his conviction and sentence. We will hear the parties on the issue of a re-trial. Counsels are to supply the court with submissions as to whether the court should order a new trial within 21 days.”