Jury finds Pointe Michel man guilty of wounding
At the High Court on Friday a jury found Romanus John Charles of Pointe Michel guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Earlier in the trial, prosecutor Dayna Matthew in the company of Director of Public Prosecutions, Evelina Baptiste, called seven witnesses including Dr. Carl Munro before High Court Judge Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts to put forward the State's case at the Roseau High Court on September 30 and October 1, 2020. Counsel Darius Jones conducted the defense.
The virtual complainant, Lee Michael Charles, told the court and a jury of five women and four men that he lived at Canefield but had lived in Pointe Michel for the preceding five months before his encounter with Romanus John Charles late evening of Wednesday August 19, 2015. He'd left the Pointe Michel Police Station where he had visited an officer he knew there. He was travelling in a westerly direction when he saw the accused at an intersection.
The accused, according to Lee Michael Charles, had on a black shirt with print in a red square on the back, black jeans pants and no shoes on. The complainant said he stayed in his position and did nothing while the accused walked some 320 feet away. Lee said he continued in his westerly direction when he heard footsteps at his back. He turned around slowly and saw the accused. He slowed his pace and the accused walked past him to the intersection in the area of the Catholic Church. Romanus walked about 10 feet ahead of him and sat on the ground and shouted at him and telling him in colourful language that the way he Lee looked at him was very disrespectful. Lee replied that he was the one disrespecting him.
Then along came state witnesses, Kimon George, who is the brother of the man whose apartment the virtual complainant was renting. George said it was before midnight when he saw Lee and Romanus who was sitting on the ground with his hands up above his shoulders. Lee was threatening to "do something with all you! I will kill all you!"
"I turned my back towards my home," George said.
He added that he turned back and saw Romanus John Charles leaving in the direction of his home. Lee called me back, continued George, but "I never take him on."
Lee went on to the Pointe Michel bus stop on the boulevard. There was no one there and he sat down. It was about 12:20am and he sat there for about 10-15 minutes. He noticed Romanus. Both hands were behind his back. About 30 feet away he pelted a stone which shattered on the wall of the bus stop.
"I ran! He had another stone aiming at me. He pelted it at me. I dodged it. At that point we started wrestling, about 5-7 minutes. He punched me and bit me. I felt a sharp pain in the centre of my chest and a sharp pain to my left side," Lee said. Lee said he immediately began to feel very weak- "like I had lost all my energy." He held on to accused shirt and would not let go so that the accused ran off with the shirt. Unable to get to the police station he sat again at the bus stop before a couple came along and helped.
When he was back to his senses he was at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in a lot of pain in his chest area and abdomen with bandages on his body. There were tubes running from his nose and left side. He had bite marks on his left shoulder and fingers, and bruises on his knees and elbows.
Dr. Carl Munro examined Lee at 1:05am on August 20. He had been accompanied to the Accident & Emergency Department of the PMH by police officers. The patient had been stabbed. He was very ill-looking and with decreased level of consciousness. He had lacerations: One 1 x 2 centimetres in the left sternum region, about the middle of the chest and just below the left breast and the other laceration of 4 x 3 centimetres to the left flank of the abdomen. Bubbles were visible in that second laceration. There was no active bleeding in any of the lacerations.
The doctor said they intervened with IV fluids, oxygen and pain medication. A chest x-ray revealed that the patient had a collapsed lung. A test tube was inserted, and the surgical team informed so that the patient could be taken to the operating theatre. Lee was subsequently admitted to the Alford male surgical ward.
Dr. Munro told the court that the test tube was inserted as a life-saving intervention. If the collapsed lung was not dealt with it was sure death for the patient.
Corporal Darwin Francis investigated the case with the assistance of other police officers.
In a statement from the prisoners' dock, Romanus John Charles said he was walking along Chemin Neff somewhere about 11:00pm when he saw Lee Michael Charles walking by the police station. He walked straight ahead to the community hall and to the church. He sat down on the road and Lee came over him and threatened him; he said if all you don't respect me I will kill all you. Romanus said he was scared. It was the first time someone had made him scared. Kim George came along and spoke with them. But he, Romanus, was so scared that he ran for two stones. He said Lee "went to the bus stop so I go after him. I sent two stones after him. They did not take him. So he ran up on me and we started to fight and he got stabbed in the fighting… I could not take it no more because mister is a pest, threaten my life without reason".
Lawyers Matthew and Jones addressed the jury followed by the judge's summation of the case to the jury before their retirement to the jury room to consider their verdict.