‘Shark Oil’ gets death sentence overturned, will now serve 18 years for manslaughter

Herman Ally, also called “Shark Oil”

Death-row inmate 72-year-old Herman Ally, also called “Shark Oil”, who was found guilty in 2012 of the murder of a fellow Rose Hall Town, Corentyne, Berbice resident, had his conviction and sentence set aside by Guyana’s Court of Appeal (COA).

The Appellate Court replaced the conviction for murder with one for manslaughter, and imposed an 18-year sentence on Ally.

The court also ordered that the time Ally has served in jail from the time of his arrest in 2006 be deducted from the sentence. As such, he will spend the next six months in prison before being released.

The appeal was heard by acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, Justice of Appeal Dawn Gregory, and High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds.

Ally, 72, of Rose Hall Town, had moved to appeal his conviction for the murder of Roydel Sandy, arguing, among other things, that the Judge before whom his case was tried misdirected the jury on several pertinent legal principles.

Ally was handed the death by hanging sentence by acting Chief Justice Roxane George following a trial at the High Court in Berbice.

Outlining the grounds for his appeal, Ally contended that Justice George misdirected the jury on the law of self-defence and admitted into evidence, a caution statement which, according to him, “ought properly to have been excluded”.

Through his lawyer, Nigel Hughes, he also argued that the trial judge misdirected the jury on the law of murder, while noting that she failed to permit him to mitigate his defence.

It had been the State’s case that Ally murdered Sandy following a misunderstanding. It was stated that on October 5, 2006, a wounded Sandy was found near Ally’s yard.

He was picked up and taken to his mother’s home before being rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital, where he died the following day. Ally was arrested that same day and was later charged with murder.

Ally had always said he acted in self-defence, claiming that he was engaged in an altercation with a woman when Sandy attacked him with a knife.