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Killer could leave jail early

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Killer could leave jail early

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HAMILTON, Bermuda – A Bermudian who killed the pregnant daughter of a Barbadian man could get out of prison seven years early following a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal.
The court ruled that Ze Selassie should become eligible for parole after 28 years, a reduction from the 35-year minimum sentence imposed in 2009.
Selassie, now 35, was convicted of the premeditated murder of 14-year-old Rhiana Moore, the daughter of a Bermudian woman and Barbadian father, Rohan Moore, who served for five years with the Bermuda Police Service after coming here in 1990. He later returned to Barbados.
The teen was around seven months pregnant with Selassie’s child. He lured the schoolgirl from a church youth group meeting in May 2008 before stabbing her 18 times and dumping her body in the sea.
He had previously been convicted of several offences against women, including the rape of a female acquaintance for which he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, but served two years before being released on parole.
After Selassie was found guilty of the Moore killing, Chief Justice Richard Ground sentenced him to life imprisonment, the statutory penalty for premeditated murder. At that time, the law stated that someone convicted of premeditated murder had to serve at least 25 years behind bars before they could be considered for release.
However, John Perry QC called that into question during an appeal hearing in the Selassie case earlier this year. The Court of Appeal last week agreed with his arguments that the 25-year period is unconstitutional as the sentencing judge should have the power to decide the period rather than have it imposed by parliament.
However, the appeal judges disagreed with Perry that 25 years ought to be the maximum.
“The result of this is that the trial judge has the discretion, having referred to all the circumstances of the case, to fix the term before which any application for release on licence can be made. It may be less or more than 25 years,” they said, in their ruling on Selassie.
They noted the factors the Chief Justice had weighed, including Selassie’s prior record, the fact Moore was pregnant and that it could have taken her up to two hours to bleed slowly to death.
The appeals judges opted to reduce Selassie’s minimum prison term from 35 to 28 years. 
“We have come to the conclusion that a period of 28 years before the appellant is eligible for release on licence would meet the justice of the case,” they said. “To that extent the appeal against sentence is allowed.”
Chief Justice Round’s original sentence had been deemed too lenient by the deceased girl’s family.
Her grieving grandmother reacted by saying “they should bring back hanging” and that, at the very least, she wanted Selassie to die in jail. (CMC)