Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year
Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year

A jury panel of eight women and one man found a businessman of Layou not guilty of grievous bodily harm at the end of a three-day trial at the Roseau High Court before resident judge, Justice Errol Thomas.

Boyd Laurent who owns a snackette and bar at Layou over many years told the court from the prisoners' dock over 12 minutes on Monday February 23, 2015 that he was at his premises on the night of Tuesday September 27, 2011 when he saw the virtual complainant, Stharet Lockhart, also of the same community, coming towards him.

He told Stharet it was time for him to go home. He would not sell for him because he had consumed too much alcohol. Stharet slapped his hand on my counter, went outside and came back in and gave Nan David (an eyewitness) two slaps on his head and he started to slam his hand again.

"I told him the rum that there is not his rum, go to his bed. He told me he coming back to slash everything in that bar tonight; then he left. After five minutes he came back with a cutlass. We both held the cutlass, but the stool trapped me down; then George Grell held the cutlass and took it from us," said Laurent

According to Laurent, defended by attorney Darius Jones, Lockhart left again and returned with a bicycle. He started throwing the bike down, knelt down and started praying by the bicycle. Laurent told him again to go and sleep.

Laurent said he was standing by the side of the road when Nan told him, "Watch it! Man coming behind you with a cutlass".

He saw it. He had a piece of wood in his hand and blocked the cutlass with it. The cutlass fell in the drain.

"That the time I went to sleep in my bed. About 7 o'clock police came to me. They told me I injured Stharet. I said I know nothing about it. And they arrested me," Laurent said.

Stharet Lockhart told the court he was coming from his cousin's bar in Layou and stopped at accused bar on his way home to get stuffed bakes. He said Laurent did not respond to me.

"I said to him you doing like you are not hearing me, you are not answering me. He cursed me. He was behind the counter. I cursed him back. There were two other persons there. He came from the back of the counter and he attacked me. We had a fight. I did not have any weapon. I held him from the back. He fell down and I never let him go. He then pulled a little cutlass. George Grell came in and took the cutlass from him. I released him and went up.

"I was heading home. I got about 10-15 feet from the bar and then I saw a shadow coming from the alley and when I turn I saw Boyd Laurent. It was about 12 o'clock. When he came out of the alley he made a swing at me. He had something in his hand. I didn't know what it was. I saw something hit my hand and I ran away. When I ran a distance, I felt my hand funny. I slowed down; look at my hand, my finger was hanging. I went to my brother's place and tied it up with a shirt and spoke with my brother. It was my right hand, my ring finger. It was just a little piece of skin that was holding it together. I called my Mom and she rushed me to the Princess Margaret Hospital."

Cross examined by Jones, Lockhart said he had at least five drinks at the first bar.

George Grell told the court that about 11:30pm that night of Tuesday September 27, 2011 on returning from selling fish at Castle Bruce he saw two men at Boyd Laurent's bar with a cutlass in their hand inside.

"The locked down people were Boyd Laurent and Stharet Lockhart. I went in there and told them what they were doing? People do not wrestle with a cutlass. I took my time, took the cutlass and threw it in an old building next to the bar. From there I went home," he said.

Nan David also of Layou was one of the patrons present. He saw Stharet Lockhart come into Boyd Laurent's bar.

"He gave me two slaps. Stharet slammed his hand on the counter so Boyd told Stharet to go outside. He said he was going for his cutlass and kill everybody. He took his bicycle and fell down four times. He pushed the bike. He came back in about 10 minutes. I told Boyd, Stharet coming with the cutlass. He came inside and slammed the counter with the blade. Boyd told him to get outside. He went outside and they started to wrestle on the road. I went and do my business. I never saw Boyd Laurent with cutlass."