The Court of Appeal has set aside the conviction and 28-year jail sentence imposed on 35-year-old Orin Jerrick for the unlawful killing of minibus driver Gavin Fiffee.
Jerrick, a gold miner from Ann’s Grove East Coast Demerara (ECD), reportedly stabbed Fiffee, a 31-year-old father of three of Sideline Dam Beterverwagting ECD. The killing occurred on July 31, 2014, at the Plaisance minibus park in Georgetown.
According to reports, on the day in question, Fiffee was loading a minibus at the park when Jerrick began urinating on the vehicle’s wheel. This angered passengers, and Fiffee confronted Jerrick, during which a heated argument erupted between them.
Sometime after, Jerrick stabbed Fiffee to the chest. The injured man was picked up by public-spirited citizens and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
At the commencement of his trial at the High Court in Demerara, Jerrick was indicted for murder by State prosecutors. The jury, however, found him guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter.
Following the jury’s verdict, Jerrick maintained that he was innocent of the crime. In fact, he declared, “I didn’t jook nobody.” He added that he acted in self defence after the deceased, who was armed with a cutlass, began chopping him.
In turn, Justice Navindra Singh told Jerrick that he had expressed no remorse even though he was found guilty by his peers. The judge imposed a sentence of 30 years.
Shortly after the sentence, Jerrick’s battery of lawyer – Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels, and Dexter Todd moved to the High Court asking for the sentence and conviction to be set aside.
The attorneys proffered several grounds for his request, with most of them arguing that the trial judge made several errors in law, which make his conviction unsafe.
Hearing the appeal on Friday were Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud.
The CJ noted that while some of the grounds don’t “hold any merit,” Justice Singh failed to direct the jury to consider self-defence and provocation when he urged the jury to convict Jerrick.