Child killer to get new sentence for 2003 shooting

The Privy Council has ordered the resentencing of Roger Watson, a former death row inmate.

Watson was initially convicted in 2006 for the 2003 murder of 12-year-old Eddison Curtis.

He was sentenced to death for the crime in 2007.

A jury found that Watson fired multiple shots from an assault rifle into a wooden home of the deceased’s stepfather with whom he had a feud.

The bullets went through the walls and struck Eddison in the head as he watched television in the living room.

Following an appeal in 2009, the Court of Appeal reduced Watson’s conviction from murder to manslaughter after determining there was no intention to kill.

Watson’s lawyers had argued that there was no evidence that he knew the home was occupied since no interior lights were on.

The Court sentenced Watson to 50 years’ imprisonment on the new offense without hearing sentencing submissions from his lawyer.

The Privy Council described the failure to hear submissions as a “serious breach of procedural fairness.”

The Court said, “In the present case it was a basic requirement of procedural fairness that, following his successful appeal against conviction for murder, the appellant should have been given the opportunity to address the Court of Appeal as to the correct factual basis on which he should be sentenced for the offense of manslaughter, as to the range of sentences imposed by the courts for manslaughter and as to where his offense stood within that range.”

The Privy Council said the lower Court also breached the rules of procedural fairness by failing to provide reasons for the 50-year sentence and by failing to give Watson credit for the three years that he had spent on remand.

The Court of Appeal was directed to take all of these factors into account when Watson is resentenced.

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