Judge fines two women for causing death, intent to disfigure
Two women were fined about $8,000 when they appeared before resident judge Justice Veronica Charles-Clarke at the Roseau High Court on Monday April 15, 2019.
Christelle John, 26, on Friday March 8, 2019 pleaded guilty to causing the death of six-year old Twan Robin by driving a motor scooter on the public road at Montine, Grand Bay dangerously on Thursday October 17, 2013.
Death by dangerous driving
According to the evidence in the case, it was about 4:00pm when John without the permission of the owner, Roy Charles, took his scooter and gave Twan, her neighbour's son, a ride on the scooter.
In the brief facts disclosed by the court, someone called Twan's name. He became agitated and fought to get off the scooter, even pulling at Christelle's hair. She looked and next thing she knew she heard a loud noise. She'd lost control and collided with a concrete wall off the road. Both Christelle and Twan suffered injuries and were taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital. Twan died.
Wayne Norde, Christelle John's lawyer in mitigation a few days before the sentencing, on Friday April 9 th, noted that she had pleaded guilty. She had shown remorse, had been emotionally distraught and since the accident had suffered from nightmares and depression. She was unemployed and wholly maintained by her mother, according to the social inquiry report of the Welfare Division. She did not socialize much and spent most of her time indoors, and never been employed. She had been to Guadeloupe on occasions to deal with depression. Norde asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence.
Judge Charles-Clarke agreed that a custodial sentence would not be appropriate. She fined Christelle John $8,000 to be paid in six months or in default to 12 months in prison. She should not be given a driving licence for four years, undergo some form of therapy and counselling, and she should be offered something to do in the community to break away from that isolation, recommended the Welfare Division.
Assault to disfigure
Justice Charles-Clarke ordered that Christine Alphonse a mother of three adult sons from the community of Massacre pay her niece $8,486.75 in compensation for assault occasioning actual bodily harm with intent to disfigure Florence St Jean at Massacre on Thursday August 14, 2014. Earlier, a jury of six women and three men had returned a split verdict of guilty (7-2) against her at the Roseau High Court on Thursday January 30, 2019.
Wayne Norde and Ms Gina Abraham conducted the defence for Christine Alphonse with State Attorney Anne Riviere prosecuting the case for the state assisted by State Attorneys Sherma Dalrymple and Carlita Benjamin. Of the five witnesses called, three were the niece and great niece of the accused, eye specialist Dr Hazel Gloria Shillingford-Ricketts and the investigating officer Corporal Kervin Paul.
Justice Charles-Clarke was not disposed to hand down a custodial sentence, stating that justice would be best served by payment of compensation. That would be $4,486.75 for medical bills and a further $4,000 for pain and suffering. The amount should be paid in six months with payments starting by the April 30, 2019 or in default serve six years in prison.
The trial judge placed Christine Alphonse under a bond to keep the peace for two years during which time any breach would have her brought back to the court for sentencing.
The Judge next invited the defendant to apologise to her niece.
"I don't know what you went through, but I can feel your pain," she said.