After spending over 17 years on remand, a 40-year-old man accused of killing a man who spilt a drink on his sister at a nightclub, has been allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter.

Facing the prospect of a retrial for murder after his first trial in 2014 ended with a hung jury, Dwayne Lynch’s attorneys wrote to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) several times requesting that he be allowed to plead to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

The DPP’s Office recently accepted the suggestion and Lynch appeared virtually before Justice Kathy Ann Waterman-Latchoo yesterday, to be arraigned and enter his guilty plea.

Lynch was accused of killing Richard Mark on March 22, 2003.

According to the evidence in the case, both men were liming at Cabaret Club at La Pique Plaza in San Fernando, when Lynch intervened in an argument between his sister and Mark over a spilt drink.

The disagreement appeared to have been resolved but Lynch approached Mark after he had left the club.

After Mark allegedly dismissed Lynch’s complaints about him disrespecting his sister earlier that night, Lynch drew a firearm.

Mark was shot in his chest and ankle and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

When Lynch was arrested by police, he allegedly admitted confronting Lynch with a gun after the incident with his sister.

“I pulled a gun and it went off twice…I ent shoot nobody,” Lynch allegedly said.

He was positively identified as Mark’s attacker by one of his (Mark) friends.

Presenting a mitigation plea on Lynch’s behalf, his lawyer Alima Alexis pointed out that the shooting was not premeditated, as her client felt the “need and pressure” to protect his younger sister.

She said that he was remorseful for his actions, as he understood the impact they had on Mark’s family.

She also said that Lynch has good job prospects when he is eventually released from prison as before he was charged he trained and worked as a roofer.

Concerns were raised over the fact that Lynch lived in the same community as Mark, but these were dismissed by his other lawyer Larry Williams, who noted that his client would “disappear” by moving when he is released.

After hearing the submissions, Waterman-Latchoo adjourned her decision on his sentence to May 11.

However, Waterman-Latchoo did hint that he may not have much longer in prison.

Whatever the appropriate sentence Waterman-Latchoo decides, she will have to apply a one-third discount for his guilty plea and deduct the time he spent on remand from his final sentence.

The DPP’s Office was represented by Maria Lyons-Edwards.