Six years after being sentenced to six concurrent life terms for killing six young women in the Campus Trendz fire on Tudor Street, The City, Renaldo Anderson Alleyne’s challenge against his sentence was this morning dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
In delivering the judgment on behalf of a three-member panel of appellate judges, president of the court, Madam Justice Sandra Mason, ordered the 28-year-old to continue on with his life sentences, without any reduction of time for good behaviour.
“Having been satisfied that the sentences imposed are neither wrong in principle, manifestly excessive or disproportionate, the appeal is dismissed and the sentences affirmed,” the judge ruled.
Mason and her colleagues, Justices Kaye Goodridge and Andrew Burgess, agreed with the trial judge that the sentences were justified, given the “ghastly” facts of the case and taking into account the relevant legal principles.
The Court of Appeal also accepted the High Court’s ruling that Alleyne’s life terms were necessary for the safety of the public and in furtherance of the administration of justice.
Based on the evidence presented in the case, Alleyne and an accomplice, Jamar Dewayne Bynoe, who was convicted last year, entered Campus Trendz Boutique on Friday, September 3, 2010, sometime
around 7 p.m.
And while Bynoe, who was brandishing a knife, demanded money from the cash till, Alleyne reportedly threw two Molotov cocktails – one into the clothing store and another by the door, causing the business place to go up in flames.
As a result, 18-year-old Shanna Griffith, an employee of the store, was immediately rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) where she was pronounced dead. Five other women – Pearl Cornelius, Kellishaw Olliviere, Tiffany Harding, Nikita Belgrave and Kelly-Ann Welch – died at the scene.
In its judgment this morning, the Court of Appeal noted that Alleyne allowed himself to be induced by another to take part in the “reprehensible venture”; therefore the three justices contended that he may be similarly persuaded to repeat the act if returned to open society.
“Consequently, the possibility of our appellant being a danger to the public in the future cannot be ruled out given his personal history, his propensity to be a follower, his evident lack of mental acuity and his proven ability to participate in the conceptualization, planning and execution of a heinous crime such as this.”
Mason also described the facts of the case as harrowing, especially considering that it involved “snuffing out the lives” of six young women by “the greedy, callous and uncaring actions of the appellant”.
“We are in consonance with the belief that the culpable causing of another’s death can be regarded as the most serious in the criminal calendar and that the harm caused by manslaughter, being so absolutely irremediable by its finality, deserves the harshest of punishment,” the Court of Appeal president added. The appellant was represented by attorney-at-law Arthur Holder, while Principal Crown Counsel Anthony Blackman, in association with Senior Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney and Crown Counsel Neville Watson, appeared for the state.