Law and Disorder in 2021
Under normal circumstances, the law moves slowly but during the period of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the system almost stopped. So much for the popular maxim "justice delayed is justice denied".
However, early in 2021, the court was forced to confront the killing of Kerwin "Slobby" Prosper of Kingshill, 36, who died in police custody over the carnival holiday– Monday, February 15, 2021 – whilst assisting the lawmen with an ongoing investigation.
Initially, the police took nearly three weeks to break their silence on the matter and eventually acting chief of police, Lincoln Corbette, disclosed that the Dominica Police Force had requested assistance from the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) in their investigation of Prosper's death.
Five months later, in August 2021, assistant commissioner of police Richmond Valentine charged superintendent of police, Matthew Cuffy, for Prosper's murder.
Meanwhile, the sentencing of Rodman Moses Lewis, 32, of Goodwill for the murder of his former girlfriend, Triscia Riviere, 26, of Stock Farm, five years earlier (on Tuesday, November 3, 2015) was rescheduled to May 4, 2021, by the trial judge, Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts. On November 13, 2020, a jury had found Lewis guilty of murder.
But more than a year later, Lewis, a former prison officer, is at the Stockfarm Prisons awaiting the judge's sentence of either death-by-hanging, as requested by the prosecution, or life imprisonment.
Another case that captured, and held, the attention of the Dominican public was the discontinue of a seven-year-old major election treating case against some of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidates of the 2014 general election.
As anticipated, there was pandemonium in political circles when the acting director of public prosecution (DPP), Sherma Dalrymple called off a case on which the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had recently ruled.
Back to square one, return to the Magistrate court was the order of the CCJ's ruling on the contentious matter of treating in the 2014 general election. But the DPP decided that the case would not continue.
Before DPP Dalrymple took that momentous decision, the controversial case took a sudden turn when one of the complainants decided that he would not continue the court battle. Mervin Jno Baptiste, one of three men who took 15 members of the DLP candidates of the 2014 general elections to court for treating withdrew his case citing a lack of preparedness and support.
Another case that created much excitement in 2021, especially on social media, was a suspected work permit fraud incident at the Labour Division that resulted in the arrest and subsequent charge of two public officers including deputy labour commissioner Eric Mendes.
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