R v Reid

JudgeWilliams, C.J.,Husbands, J.,Tulloch, J.
Judgment Date31 March 1978
Neutral CitationBB 1978 HC 21
Docket NumberCriminal Appeal No. 20 of 1977
CourtHigh Court (Barbados)
Date31 March 1978

Court of Appeal

Williams, C.J. (Ag);, Husbands, J.; Tulloch, J. (Ag)'

Criminal Appeal No. 20 of 1977


Mr. A. Shepherd for the applicant.

Mr. John Husbands, Q.C., Director of Public Prosecutions and Mr. E. Belgrave, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, for the crown.

Criminal Law - Murder — Summing up — Whether directions by judge adequate as to the standard of proof necessary to secure a conviction


On October 11, 1977 Anthony Sylvan Reid was convicted before a judge and jury of the murder of Charles Hamilton Drayton, otherwise called John Drayton. He was sentenced to death on the same day. His appeal to this court alleges inadequate direction by the learned judge on two matters, the standard of proof required to secure a conviction for a criminal offence and the mens rea necessary to constitute the offence of murder.


The learned trial judge told the jury that the standard of proof required was proof beyond reasonable doubt and that before they could find the accused guilty, they must be satisfied and sure of his guilt. We know of no authority for saying that such a direction could be faulted nor was any such authority brought to our attention. Accordingly, we did not think it necessary to hear the crown on this ground.


Before turning to the other ground, we shall attempt a summary of the case. The charge was that the appellant murdered Drayton on August 12, 1977. According to the evidence the scene was a small house at Bonnets Road, Brittons Hill, St. Michael, and the time between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. The appellant, Drayton and other men were gambling in this house. There is a great divergence between the evidence of the prosecution witnesses and the unsworn statement of the appellant as to the vital matters.


Albert Hollingsworth gave evidence for the crown. According to him Drayton and Trevor Atkins were playing cards. The appellant said that if he was not playing with them, nothing would play. He snatched the cards up. Drayton snatched the cards from the appellant, telling him that he knew that he carried a knife but that he was not afraid of him or the knife. Drayton and Atkins continued with their game. The appellant who had been sitting on the table, stood up on the table and asked Drayton “if he feel that he bad”. He drew a knife from his waistline and before Drayton looked up, he stuck Drayton with the knife in his chest. According to this version of the incident, Drayton had no knife, gun or other instrument and had done nothing to the appellant except to take the cards out of his hand.


Trevor Atkins also gave evidence for the crown. According to him, he and Drayton were playing cards. The appellant took up the cards and Drayton held his hand and took the cards away from him. Drayton told the appellant “you cannot done this game.” After Drayton released the appellant's hand, the appellant stood on the table. He took out a sharp-edged tool looking like a knife from the front of his pants. He pushed it in Drayton's chest and pulled it back out. According to this witness, Drayton did nothing to the appellant apart from holding his hand and taking away the cards and when Drayton received the stab, he was holding money in his hand and looking down at it.


Robert Jones was another witness for the crown. He said that when the incident occurred, the appellant was standing on the table. Drayton was to his right. They had a little talk and Drayton had taken the cards from the appellant. The stabbing took place after Drayton took the cards from the appellant. Drayton did nothing to the appellant after he took the cards from him.


The appellant's unsworn statement painted an entirely different picture of what transpired. He spoke of borrowing five dollars after he lost the money he had and then continued –

“John Drayton say he aint playing no more with me.

I asked Roger Atkins if I couldn't play. He said yes, you could play. So I take up the cards, put down a dollar to deal the cards Atkins told me I could play.

John Drayton bound on my hands, wring my hands and take the cards from me. So I said I aint taking that. You unfair me.

He chuck me and said you got to take it man. He said he hear and knew that I like a knife, if I ever utter anything about a knife he would break my hand or break my back.

He fly up to me when I was in a corner and held me over his shoulder. I hear somebody say why don't you let go the boy.

He let me go; he pushed me away. I had a knife in...

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