SVG: Former journalist, sentenced to life in prison


Searchlight Newspapers) — A former journalist was on Friday sentenced to life in prison for a murder the judge said was pre-meditated, unprovoked on the day in question, and for which the convict showed little remorse.

High Court judge Brian Cottle, while handing down his sentence at the High Court in Kingstown said Junior Jarvis showed no remorse while he was being tried for the murder of banker Randy Lawrence, who was killed on February 14, 2017 at Arnos Vale.

As he reflected on the facts of the case, Cottle said there was a “substantial degree of pre-meditation” involved in the murder.

The judge said Jarvis had sufficient time to “cool off” from an encounter he had had with Lawrence the night before the murder. However, Jarvis returned the next morning, parked his vehicle a distance away and returned to where Lawrence’s vehicle was parked.

He said Jarvis took time to pose and photograph himself near Lawrence’s vehicle which had been left at a car park in the vicinity of where an event had been hosted the night before.

Cottle also noted that Jarvis had been prevented by the presence of the police and other persons from carrying out his desire the previous night, and as a result, he returned the next morning to where Lawrence’s car was parked and waited.

The judge said that Jarvis may not have applied for a firearm licence intending to commit murder, but after he received his licence he obtained a gun and he decided to use it.

Cottle said he considered the fact that the offence was committed on a public road in a residential/ commercial district an aggravating factor.

He also noted that there is a church in the immediate vicinity where Lawrence was murdered.

Cottle pointed out that defence counsel submitted that there was no evidence that anyone witnessed the shooting so to have been traumatised by it.

However, the judge said he is of the view that it was entirely possible that other road users who were present could have been injured or killed.

Cottle noted that Jarvis, in his own testimony, said that in the vicinity of where he shot Lawrence he had walked past two men and when Lawrence was shot, he was running in the direction of those two men.

In addition, the Judge said that the offence was committed near a religious institution and it was unprovoked.

Jarvis had told the jury that Lawrence had reached for a gun to shoot at him first, and he tried to avoid confrontation. However, the jury did not believe and they found that Lawrence did not provoke Jarvis on the day of his murder.

The judge said there were no mitigating factors of the offence.

Also working against Jarvis was the fact that he has a previous conviction for assaulting a woman causing her actual bodily harm.

Cottle said while this conviction was seven years before the murder, it shows that the prisoner has a history of committing acts of violence.

There were also no mitigating factors in relation to Jarvis.

The judge said that Jarvis’s expression of remorse was only on the day before sentencing when he addressed the court expressing remorse. However, during the trial he was not remorseful.

“His expression of remorse ranked hollow to me as he seems to still not accept the responsibility for his actions…” the judge said.

In handing down his sentence, Cottle said paragraph four of the sentencing guidelines states that where the offender was an adult when he committed the offence, the appropriate starting point is a whole life sentence.

No upward adjustments in the sentence were made as a life sentence was determined for the starting point.

There were also no adjustments for an early guilty plea and while Jarvis has already spent five years and 11 months on remand this will not be deducted from his sentence as this is only done if the starting point is a determinate sentence.

Jarvis who is now 50 years old will be eligible for a review of his sentence after he has served 30 years.

At that time, he will be brought back to the court to be accessed as to whether he is sufficiently rehabilitated to be released from prison. If he is deemed not sufficiently rehabilitated, he will be re-evaluated after a further three years.

Jarvis was found guilty of the murder of 39-year-old Randy Lawrence on November 28, 2022 after a 12-member jury of four men and eight women returned guilty verdicts after three hours of deliberation.

Apart from murder, Jarvis was also unanimously found guilty on six other charges by the jury.

For one charge, that of attempting to murder Arisha Pompey, the jury did not reach a unanimous decision, but by a 11-1 decision Jarvis was found guilty.

He was sentenced on the other charges which will run concurrently with his life sentence.

He was sentenced to 18 years and nine months for using a firearm to commit murder.

He was also sentenced to 21 years for the attempted murders of Josette Smith and Arisha Pompey.

In addition, he was sentenced to two years and six months for abducting Arisha Pompey and five years for assaulting her and causing her actual bodily harm.

Additionally, he was sentenced to 15 years for aggravated burglary after he entered the home of Josette Smith as a trespasser with a firearm.

The case was prosecuted by Director of Public Prosecutions, Sejilla McDowall, Crown Counsel Renee Simmons, and Richie Maitland.

Jarvis was defended by  Kay Bacchus-Baptiste and Ronnia Durham-Balcombe.

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