On January 30, 2017, the Privy Council handed down judgment in an appeal from the Court of Appeal in Jamaica for one of Dorsey's pro bono clients.
Our client, Leslie McLeod, was convicted in May 2009 of the murder of Junior Wilson in Kingston Jamaica in 2004. Our client, who was in his mid-fifties and had no previous convictions, was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour. At his first trial, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. At his second trial, shortly before he was due to give evidence, Mr. McLeod’s trial counsel asked the judge if he could speak to Mr. McLeod to take instructions. The judge refused him permission. Mr. McLeod decided not to give evidence, but instead made an unsworn statement from the dock (which has less evidential weight than sworn evidence). He was convicted. He appealed on the ground that he should have been given the opportunity to consult with his lawyer on the question of whether to give evidence. A factual dispute arose between Mr. McLeod and his lawyer. Our client alleged that the question of whether to give sworn evidence or an unsworn statement from the dock was not discussed before or during the trial, and that he received no advice on that crucial question. This was denied by his lawyer.
The Privy Council concluded that the case should be remitted to the Jamaican Court of Appeal for resolution of that factual dispute, and that Mr. McLeod and his former lawyer should both be directed to attend the hearing at the Jamaican Court of Appeal.
You can read the judgment here.
Another London Pro Bono Success
January 30, 2017