40 years later, Donald Rodney’s conviction overturned

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Forty years after he was convicted for being in possession of a walkie-talkie that exploded and killed his brother – Dr Walter Rodney, the famed Guyanese intellectual and political activist – Donald Rodney was freed of the charge.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday set aside Donald Rodney’s conviction and sentence on the concession by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, that his right to a fair trial had been breached given the number of years the case took to be heard.

The DPP had also stated that while there was evidence to show that Donald Rodney did have the walkie-talkie, there was not enough evidence to show that he knew that an explosive device was placed inside the walkie-talkie.

Walter Rodney

Dr Rodney, at the time an agitator against the then Forbes Burnham government, was killed on June 13, 1980, when the walkie-talkie was handed to him as he sat in a car a short distance away from Georgetown Prison.

Donald Rodney was charged with possession of explosives shortly after and was convicted in 1982; he has been out on bail pending the appeal.

Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, thanked the DPP for the concession and said it would have been great if it had come earlier.

The Court of Appeal will issue a written judgment after.

Donald Rodney is an attorney but because of the conviction he has not been able to practice in Guyana.

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