Law and Disorder in 2014
Legal matters holding our attention in 2014
Azille on murder charge
Emmanuel "Manny" Azille, a 56 year-old Cottage man was on Thursday October 9, 2014 charged with the murder of Marilyn McLawrence of Portsmouth on September 30, 2014.
Azille appeared before acting chief magistrate Candia Carette- George and the clerk of court read the charge of murder to him. He did not have a lawyer and told the magistrate that he was innocent.
Azille is accused of killing McLawrence, 46, whose lifeless body was found in a track near her home in Glanvillia, Portsmouth about 7:30 pm with serious wounds to her head.
Catholic Church dismisses Father LaFleur
Monsignor Reginald LaFleur, 60, the Dominican Catholic priest accused of touching a young parishioner inappropriately 19 years ago, was dismissed from the priesthood.
Having reviewed the evidence before it, the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, the office in Rome which deals with those matters, asked Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of the Diocese of Roseau to issue a decree dismissing Monsignor LaFleur. Bishop Malzaire issued that decree on November 6, 2014.
Justice Thomas to rule in police officers murder charge case
Dominicans are still waiting to hear the fate of five police officers who are charged with murder.
The public's attention is on the High Court's civil division and the anticipated decision of Justice Errol Thomas.
The officers, PC's Orlan Vigille, Delvin Challenger, Martin Seaman, WPC Gemma Louis and Sergeant Hayden Morgan, were arrested and charged for the murder of Joshua Etienne who was found dead in police cells in Portsmouth a day after he was arrested for possession of ammunition.
Later, a number of lawyers headed by Lennox Lawrence convinced magistrate Bernard Pacquette to "stay the matter" as the charge was being read in the magistrate's court. Lawrence and the other lawyers have since petitioned the High Court seeking leave for judicial review. The review was granted and Judge Thomas has to decide whether the trial will continue to determine the officer's guilt or innocence.
Back to court
Director of Public Prosecution Evelina Baptiste has filed "new and fresh indictments" in cases squashed by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) when it met here recently.
Thus David St. Jean, Kenrick Tyson and members of the Soufriere family, Manuela Williams, Loretta and Herbert Xavier, all earlier convicted of murder, are expected to come before a new trial judge in January 2015.
Kenrick Tyson was convicted of murdering Cecil James on May 10, 2009 at Concord; on March 28, 2012 Justice Bernie Stephenson sentenced him to life imprisonment after he was found guilty by a nine member jury.
St. Jean was convicted of killing Clement James and jailed for 25 years while Herbert Xavier, Manuella Williams and Loretta Xavier were convicted of killing their brother, Harrison Williams; Justice Brian Cottle jailed them for 15 years.
The ECSC has ruled that the trial judges made serious errors in these cases thus rendering the convictions "unsafe".
Dominica makes the CCJ its Final Appellate Court
When Parliament met in July 2014 to vote on a Constitutional Amendment to make the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the country's final court, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) did not vote. But all 18 elected parliamentarians of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) voted for the complete delinking from the British Privy Council.
Attorney General Levi Peter described the Sixth Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament under the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution which began at 10:00am on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at the House of Assembly on Victoria Street, Roseau, during which the vote was taken, as "a very important, historic and momentous occasion."
During the vote Opposition Leader Hector John abstained while Edison James, the parliamentary representative from Marigot and Norris Prevost, the parliamentary representative from Roseau Central were absent.
PMH sue succeeds
Describing the case as "very important to our jurisprudence", Judge Errol Thomas ruled that the health service at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) was negligent in the death of a 33 year-old woman.
Enis St. Rose Johnson, personal representative of her deceased daughter Cassandra Muriel St. Rose, successfully sued Dr. Roberson Thomas and the Attorney General of Dominica. Justice Thomas delivered the 42-page judgment on October 3rd 2014.
Two years ago, through her lawyers Kathy Buffong and Wynante Adrien Roberts, Enis St. Rose Johnson sued for "negligence."