Date set for prison sentence remission cases

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Wednesday has been set as the date for the matters involving convicted killers Gideon Jackson and Bryan Frederik Soerowidjojo who have each filed an application questioning why they are still behind bars after the remaining time on their jail sentences were shaved off and they were expecting to be freed.

The application, called a habeas corpus ad subjiciendum, is to be heard by High Court Justice Marissa Robertson who was recently assigned to the jurisdiction.

In the writs, filed on the men’s behalf by attorney Charlesworth Tabor, they are supported by their partners.

Markiysia Jackson, wife of Gideon Jackson and Shantel Irish, who claims to be Soerowidjojo’s fiancée, swore in two affidavits that they have no knowledge why the men were re-arrested and imprisoned again after they were granted remission of the time remaining on their prison sentences for separately killing two people several years ago.

Both women said in their affidavits that all they know is that while in prison their partners were involved in several activities, including working with the government’s Home Advancement Programme for the Indigent (HAPI) to build and repair homes for citizens in need of such assistance.

They reported being told that their partners exhibited good behaviour in prison, and that was the reason for them being granted remission. The two women have also attested having no knowledge about why the men were apprehended and re-incarcerated after they were already released.

The case stems from the decision of the attorney general and minister responsible for prisons, Steadroy Benjamin, to rescind his approval of the remission for the men last month – barely 24 hours after they were set free!

The attorney representing the men, Charlesworth Tabor, said, “We contend that the subsequent revocation by the Minister of Legal Affairs and Justice of the remission was unlawful since he does not have the power so to do under the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda.”

Soerowidjojo was convicted and sent to Her Majesty’s Prison on June 17, 2011 for murdering homeowner Lyndon Browne during a burglary of the victim’s home; and Jackson was jailed on July 14, 2016 for killing Dorothy Prince during an armed robbery at her workplace.

They had pleaded guilty to murder and manslaughter respectively, and Soerowidjojo got a sentence of 16 years imprisonment while Jackson was sentenced to 12 years.

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