The Guyanese labourer, who killed a teenaged girl by stringing her up on a beam in her plantation home and leaving her tottering on two buckets, had his 25-year sentence shaved by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Thursday.
Even though they found that Persaud’s actions were “a serious aggravating factor” given his familiarity with the girl and her parents – he was an employee of her father John Jackson who owned the Black Rock, St Michael business So-Lo – the five justices upped the killer’s sentence by two years to 27, but then reduced it by a third to 18 years in jail.
They then took the more than four years the Guyanese killer had spent on remand at HMP Dodds into consideration and ordered him to spend 13 years, 339 days for killing the girl, who was also burnt in her home. That sentence will start from the date of conviction on December 2012, five years and five months ago.
Persaud could be out of prison in about seven and a half years’ time.
The CCJ has also urged Barbados to heed judicial calls for review of the guidelines set out in the Pierre Lorde case since it said “unreasonably low sentences” for serious offences could result from them as they now stand.
Persaud, an agricultural labourer, living at Blades Hill No. 3, St Philip, but who was originally from Essequibo Coast, Guyana, had pleaded guilty, in 2012, to unlawfully killing teenager Anna Druzhinina on November 8, 2008, after he had denied murdering her on the same date.
Now retired Justice Maureen Crane-Scott sentenced him to 25 years in jail for the “callous and reprehensible act” which left the 16-year-old to suffer a “slow and terrible death”. It was a sentence upheld by the Court of Appeal, which found it was appropriate and not excessive when compared to the sentence of 16 years co-conspirator Christopher McCollin received.
However, attorney Ajamu Boardi, who appeared with Safiya Moore, Nikita Vaughn and Glenroy Goddard, appealed the Court of Appeal’s decision, listing nine grounds including that the sentence was excessive given the high starting point used by the judge and her misapplication of mitigating and aggravating factors.
Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Anthony Blackman and Krystal Delaney appeared for the Crown.
Justices Adrian Saunders, Jacob Wit, David Hayton, Winston Anderson and Maureen Rajnauth-Lee agreed with Boardi’s submissions.
“In the present case, we are not convinced that the case against (Persaud) was so dramatically different from that of the co-accused that it warranted the imposition of an additional nine years imprisonment,” they held.
“We do not believe that the aggravating factors peculiar to (Persaud), primarily the implied duty of trust based on his knowledge of the deceased and the parents and their residence, could justify an additional almost decade-long sentence,” the judges said.
Persaud was fired by Jackson after a dispute over missing money. (HLE)