The Privy Council in London will not hear an appeal by the two men convicted of murdering activist Estella Scott
Roberts in 2008.
Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards has received confirmation that an application by Kirkland Henry and Larry Princeton [Prinston] Ricketts was refused.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council reported that the application for permission to appeal had been considered and refused. The refusal was “because the application does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance”.
Further, the committee pointed out that the case had already been the subject of a judicial decision – by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in Grand Court – and had been reviewed on appeal, by the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal.
At the time of her death, Mrs. Scott Roberts worked as corporate communications manager for Cable and Wireless. She was known in the community for her previous involvement with the Women’s Resource Centre, the Crisis Centre and the Cayman Islands National Policy for Gender Equality.
She had celebrated her 33rd birthday with women friends at a West Bay Road restaurant on the night of Friday, 10 October, 2008, after celebrating with her husband two nights before. She was last seen walking toward the rear of a car park furthest away from West Bay Road. At her car, she was seized by two men, who forced her into the car and drove her to a remote area in Barkers in West Bay.
They bound her with tape and raped her. Then a plastic bag was taped over her head; she suffocated and died. They completed a robbery they had planned, taking items from her purse and the car, which was then set alight with her body in it. “By any standards, this was a horrendous crime,” Sir John Chadwick summarised when he gave the decision of the Court of Appeal in November 2010.
The court affirmed the sentences of imprisonment for life.
The men were tried together in Grand Court by judge alone in February 2010. Before their trial started, Henry admitted abduction, rape and robbery, but denied playing any part in placing the plastic bin liner over the victim’s head; he said Ricketts had done that. Henry’s attorneys argued that he had withdrawn from what had been a joint enterprise.
After his arrest, Ricketts signed an interview admitting his part in causing the death. At trial, however, he asserted that the interview was not a true account. His defence was one of alibi – that he was not the man with Henry. He entered pleas of not guilty to all charges.
At the time the men were charged, Cayman law required that no other offence could be charged on an indictment for murder. The charges of abduction, rape and robbery were on a separate indictment.
After the murder trial, Henry was sentenced to 20 years for rape, 15 years for abduction and 13 years for robbery, all concurrent. Ricketts was scheduled to be tried for these same charges in May 2011, but that trial was postponed.
The signed and sealed notice from the Clerk of the Privy Council ends by stating that Her Majesty the Queen was pleased by the advice to approve the report and to order that those charged with administering the government of the Cayman Islands “are to ensure that it is punctually observed and obeyed.”