Convicted killer Arleigh Hector James will now have to reapply within the next year before he is considered for early release for the 1994 murder of his wife, Debra James and stepdaughter Sabrina Arlington.
Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson handed down this decision yesterday in the case where James, who is represented by attorneys Desmond Sands and Tariq Khan, presented the argument that his sentence until “Her Majesty’s Pleasure” was unconstitutional and should be overturned. James had originally been sentenced to hang but that was commuted in 2000.
Medical assessments had revealed that James had no psychiatric disorder at the time he committed the offence and that became one of the grounds on which Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard QC argued against James’ release at this time.
In handing down his decision, the Chief Justice said the court was “still uncomfortable with the idea that 19 years suffices as retributive justice”.
He took particular issue with the fact that it was a case of domestic violence and he made it clear that he wanted the message to be sent that the court had zero tolerance for such.
Referring to the increase in domestic violence in Barbados, Sir Marston said men ought not to feel that “a woman who spurns your love deserves death. That is not a capital offence”.
Sir Marston said the court had taken into consideration the “very mitigating factors” that had been proffered on James behalf, as well as the “very aggravating factors.”
James, who has spent the last 19 years in prison, is a prison orderly and was described by authorities as trustworthy, obedient and having good interpersonal relations with staff and inmates.
Housed in minimum security, James had also completed several Bible courses, anger management sessions, and was currently taking CXC English.
Members of his family had also offered to do all they could to assist with James’ reintegration into the wider society upon his release.
However, on the other hand some members of James’ community said they were still traumatised by the incident and would be fearful if he returned among them. They described him as violent and antagonistic.
Reports had indicated that James was scheduled to be released from prison on Monday, following the early release of Peter Forde and Orlando Lorde last Thursday for the 1995 rape and robbery of a minibus conductress in French Village, St Peter.
In 1999 Forde and Lorde were sentenced to 30 years in prison, however on appealing the sentence in 2002, their sentences were reduced to 25 years.