He was found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder last Thursday by a jury in the February 2007 death of Koffi Beeks in Ladyville and spent seven years on remand. But Justice Troadio Gonzalez disappointed them by setting a prison term of 22 years.
The sentence includes the seven years on remand, so it means that 27-year-old Ferguson must sit in jail for a further 15 years. We spoke with Ferguson’s attorney Bryan Neal outside court after the verdict.
“Well, they imposed 22 years and I believe that he took the seven years that he has already served into consideration. So, he will serve fifteen more years”.
Reporter: “What possibilities are there that the sentence can be appealed?”
Attorney Mr. Bryan Neal: “Well, I will look at the rules and regulations if it leaves some room for the appeal for the sentence”.
The court heard from four character witness including the younger Ferguson’s father Glenford Sr., Grace Augustine, Anna Franklin and Mary Guzman, who all testified to Ferguson’s worth and character and asked the court to be lenient with him. Ferguson, Jr., himself apologized in open court for his actions saying he was sorry for what he did. But in passing sentence, Justice Gonzalez said he carefully considered the typical range of prison time for such an offence as well as the high prevalence of the crime. Neal speaks to us about the difficulties of preparing a defense for this particular case.
Attorney Mr. Bryan Neal: “I would know, but I would know that once the jury saw that confession statement, then there was no way for the accused to to say that the prisoner wasn’t there; the prisoner was in there. So, he had to focus on other defenses such as self defense, mitigating his intent to bring down the charges to manslaughter”.
Reporter: “How difficult was that in your defense for the accused in that situation?”
Attorney Mr. Bryan Neal: “Well, it makes difficult for me because, once a man confesses, he is bound by his
confession and it limits the range of options for an attorney. It’s a very difficult case for me from the very beginning”.
The Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith, who was assisted by Crown Counsels Leroy Banner and Kileru Awich. Ferguson is expected to appeal to the Court of Appeal.