NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Privy Council has upheld the conviction and sentence of James Miller, who was found guilty in June 2009 of attempted murder, five counts of armed robbery, four counts of possession of a firearm with intent to prevent lawful arrest, causing grievous harm, and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Miller received a life sentence for attempted murder and 25 years on each conviction of armed robbery. He also received five years for causing grievous harm, 10 years for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, 10 years on the first two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to prevent lawful arrest, and 14 years on each of the last two convictions of possession of a firearm with intent to prevent lawful arrest.
In 2016, Miller’s life imprisonment sentence was substituted with a prison sentence of 40 years by the Court of Appeal, and his other sentences were affirmed. In July 2020, Miller was granted leave to appeal against both his conviction and sentence to the Privy Council. The conviction was challenged on a single ground that was not argued in the Court of Appeal, namely that the trial judge had misdirected the jury on the ‘intent’ necessary for a conviction of attempted murder.
The case against Miller stemmed from a brazen daylight armed robbery at a Scotia Bank branch in 2008, during which a female police officer, Police Corporal Natasha Black, was shot in the head. Miller and his accomplice, Anthony Williams, were identified as the robbers. After exiting the bank, the men encountered a police vehicle and opened fire, striking Corporal Black. The men then engaged in a high-speed chase with the police, during which they fired shots at the officers. Both Miller and Williams were apprehended, and evidence was found linking them to the robbery and shooting.
The Privy Council ruled that despite misdirections by the trial judge, the evidence against Miller was overwhelming, and no reasonable jury could have failed to convict on the charge of attempted murder. The Privy Council also dismissed Miller’s appeal against his sentence, stating that the attempted killing of a police officer in the aftermath of committing another violent crime was an offense of the utmost seriousness, and the sentence imposed was merited.