Ex-cop’s murder conviction overturned
Valerie Neita-Robertson QC, one of the attorneys for former cop Lescene Edwards, whose 2013 murder conviction was overturned yesterday by the UK's Privy Council, says that their client is looking to put the past 19 years behind him.
Despite his victory, Neita-Robertson said that her client had lost a significant portion of his life and will be seeking legal redress post haste.
"Incarceration for so long is not an easy thing, but we will do our assessment. But I think it (lawsuit) will be substantial. He lost all that he had planned to do. He had a business, he was thinking about migrating and going back to school," she said. to
Neita-Robertson said that her client was "elated" following the ruling and they will be looking sue the State. Edwards was convicted in 2013 of the 2003 murder of his partner Aldonna Harris-Vasquez in 2003. He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 35 years before he would be eligible for parole.
The prosecution alleged that on the night of September 5, 2003, Edwards visited Harris-Vasquez, the mother of his two children, and shot her in the bathroom of her home in St Andrew, staging the murder to look like a suicide. The prosecution argued that Edwards' actions were fuelled by jealousy. The majority of the jury accepted the prosecution's case and Edwards was later sentenced in November 2013.
No satisfactory explanation
However, following an appeal, the Privy Council stated that "There is simply no satisfactory explanation of how the defendant could have managed to murder the deceased in the very confined bathroom, then move the body, open the door and appear a very short time afterwards in the living room without blood being seen on him or his clothes, and without any bloodstains or bloodied footprints being found anywhere outside of the bathroom". The Privy Council also questioned the prosecution's lengthy delay in bringing the case to trial. As a result, they ruled that a "significant miscarriage of justice has occurred" and that the former cop's conviction cannot stand.
She told THE STAR that her client is eager to reconnect with his children and family, who she said had stuck by him.
"He has missed them so much. When this whole thing started, they were little children and now they are in their 20s. They went through high school without him being around," she said. "I don't know how often they communicated but I would imagine they visited him during all the family visits that the prison would have facilitated."
"He never wavered not once. He would say 'Mrs Robertson I am innocent and God knows what is best'. He could have given up, but he never did," she added.
The veteran lawyer said that Edwards' legal team feels vindicated because in their opinion, there was no evidence.
"He and the girl had such a good relationship. The prosecution wanted to say that he was jealous because she had married a man, but it was nothing like that," she said. "The prosecution had no case because here is a man who was not in his house. Him visiting her, him no have no chance to change or hide him clothes. So when the police tek di clothes weh him have and no blood no deh pon it and blood splatter all over the bathroom, yuh know that they were being disingenuous."