Privy Council Overturns Police Officer’s Life Imprisonment Conviction

The case of Lescene Edwards, a former police officer who was convicted of fatally shooting his girlfriend, Aldonna Harris-Vasque on the night of September 5, 2003, was overturned today, April 4, by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

On October 31, 2013, a jury convicted Edwards of murder and on November 5, 2013, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 35 years. This verdict was concluded despite a suicide note being discovered in close proximity to the body of the deceased.

Edwards was represented by a team of lawyers during his appeal on February 15-16, 2022, who argued that the 10-year delay in his conviction and appellate process was a breach of his constitutional right. They also applied to have new evidence submitted in which experts in forensic testimony, ballistics and gunshot residue offered their services pro-bono to prove his innocence.

Additionally, it was alleged that pertinent evidence from the police investigation was omitted and foul play was involved. That is, clothes worn by Edwards on the day of the murder along with the gun and holster were not sent for forensic testing as well as clothes worn by the deceased were destroyed by the police before the trial.

Nonetheless, the new evidence that was presented at the appeal aided in Edwards’s defence as the Privy Council declared that there was no adequate justification to how the defendant would have been able to commit murder in the small bathroom, open the door, move the body with no traces of blood on his clothes, no blood on himself, nor any bloodstains or bloodied footprints anywhere outside the bathroom.

It was then concluded by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that the “suicide hypothesis is far more likely than the murder one”.

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