Leroy Dennis Snagg will continue to serve the 20-year sentence handed down to him after being found guilty of rape.
This morning, the Court of Appeal comprising Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson, Justice Rejendra Narine and Justice Jefferson Cumberbatch, dismissed Snagg’s appeal against the lengthy conviction, saying it had no merit.
The now 53-year-old had been charged with raping a teenaged girl on September 23, 2010.
He was found guilty by a unanimous verdict on May 19, 2014, and on December 9 that same year was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Justice Maureen Crane-Scott.
When the appeal, which was filed on February 10, 2020, came up for hearing today, after listening to both sides it took the Court of Appeal only five minutes to come to a decision.
“Having had the opportunity to discuss this matter among ourselves, with the main question being whether this case merits a reservation of decision and we’ve concluded that there is no merit in the appeal. Accordingly, the order of this court is that the appeal is therefore dismissed with reasons to follow,” Sir Marston said following the brief adjournment.
Snagg, who was represented by attorney Arthur Holder, sought to have his conviction overturned on three grounds. Firstly, that the trial judge did not allow him to represent himself; that comments made by the trial judge were highly prejudicial and tantamount to ensuring that he was not afforded a fair trial and finally on the omnibus ground, which speaks to the fact that as long as an accused’s rights are infringed any verdict delivered ought to be seen as unsafe and unsavoury.
Holder had argued that Justice Crane-Scott did not give Snagg the opportunity to represent himself after he fired three of his lawyers.
He explained that he eventually represented the accused by way of a Legal Aid Certificate after his request was denied.
However, when Holder was asked by Sir Marston to show where in the transcript Snagg was denied the chance to represent himself, he said there was none.
The Court of Appeal also rejected the position by Holder that Crane-Scott’s comments had prejudiced Snagg’s case and as such, also dismissed the omnibus ground.
Senior Crown Counsel Neville Watson, who appeared on behalf of the Crown, was successful in his request for the Court of Appeal to affirm the conviction and sentence.
Watson contended that while Snagg was given every opportunity to conduct the case on his own, “it was clear from the language which he used that he had some difficulty in proceeding with the matter.”
He also argued that there was more than sufficient evidence in the case to convict the accused.
“Having heard the evidence and having sat through the entire trial, the jury had the responsibility to evaluate the evidence, to look at the witnesses, see their demeanor and to determine for themselves the facts of the case and to determine guilt.
“It is our submission that there was no lurking doubt in this particular conviction…” Watson added.
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