Man is guilty of causing death by reckless driving
A young man of Massacre has to return to court on Friday February 19, 2016 to hear his fate for causing the death, by reckless driving, of Samuel Alie alias Blanc on Goodwill Road on Saturday morning August 11, 2012.
The case prosecuted by Director of Public Prosecutions Evelina Baptiste with the assistance of State Attorney Fernillia Felix was heard by Justice Errol Thomas and a jury of seven women and two men. Felix would address the jury on the last day of the trial in the absence of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
During the trial DPP Baptiste called 10 witnesses to build the State's case against Layne Orlando Royer who was represented by lawyer Kondwani Williams at the Roseau High Court on between Wednesday January 27 and February 2, 2016.
According to evidence given in the case, Annette Cornelius, a former colleague of Alie, 40, at the Public Works Department had gone to work about 6:00am driving her white Nissan car. She parked her vehicle outside and as she went in to clock in passed Alie, a security guard, leaving the Public Works compound. He had a piece of bread and a cup in his hands. On returning back to her car she saw Alie crossing the Stock Farm Road heading towards Goodwill Road.
Cornelius got to her car and drove towards Goodwill Road. Alie was on the pavement between the two lanes (the western lane running south to north, and the eastern lane running north to south). As she drove off and headed to the lane running south to north, checking to see if any vehicle was coming, she looked forward and saw a black jeep coming towards her heading south.
It passed her, but when she looked back she did not see Alie "except in the air floating".
She said: "He fell back down to the ground. He rolled a distance and that's where he stopped. I started screaming: They kill Alie! They kill Alie! The jeep continued driving until it stopped... by E H Charles. I got out of my vehicle and tried to call my supervisor. The defendant came on the scene. He looked at the body and all of a sudden he had a knife. He put the knife to his neck. One of the security guards took the knife from his him.
"The police and the ambulance came and took the body away. I was transported to the hospital because my pressure was high."
Answering questions posed by the defence lawyer, she said the deceased was standing on the pavement between the two lanes of the road, and there was no vehicle being driven from the south.
Another witness Dexter Rossi from Stock Farm/Tarrish Pit area was on his way to work about 6:00am. He was standing under a tamarind tree on the western side of the road sheltering rain close to the roadside restaurant and bar called Ma Boyd's when he saw a big black and silver jeep overtaking a white vehicle.
"It fall in the lane where Ma Boyd is and I heard 'bhoww!' I see a guy in the air spinning. The vehicle that jam him there went and stop by E.H. Charles in the bus stop," he said.
The jeep had struck Alie by a light post between the two lanes. Alie had a cup of tea and bread in his hand. Rossi went to the body and saw injuries to his head and damage to his stomach. The body was between two poles, the one he had been standing by along the road.
The driver of the jeep left the area of Egbert Charles and came to see the damage he had done then went and sat on the wall on the western side of the road.
Another witness, Anthony Alexis of Tarrish Pit, a security and maintenance man of Public Works also estimated the time of the accident around 6:00am. He was walking along the eastern side of the road, the side of the road of Public Works, in a northerly direction with a female colleague when he saw that a white bus coming from the Fond Cole area slow down. The black vehicle behind it drove from behind going across the road to the other lane cutting across the pavement. He heard a noise and saw Alie's body on the windscreen of the dark vehicle and in the air. The vehicle was going fast. The body fell on the road on the western side near the bay. The man's body had a hole in its head and was lying on his back and one of his legs was twisted. Alexis also noted a Bible which belonged to Alie. He also saw the cup. Alexis put his hand to Alie's neck to see if he had any pulse. He next took his phone and called the emergency unit.
Alexis next went to the dark vehicle and told the driver that he had hit somebody.
Another witness, Emilie Cuffy, who was walking with Alexis also gave her account.
Christian Emmanuel, the deceased's brother, identified the body for the purpose of the autopsy.
Dr. Cheruserta Joseph examined Samuel Alie at the Accident & Emergency Department of the Princess Margaret Hospital about 6:30am that morning. The doctor found no respiration or pulse and the pupils of the eyes were fixed. He noted multiple injuries to head and right leg. He pronounced the body dead.
A magistrate court clerk who was present when Pathologist Dr Milagros Romero Fernandez gave evidence at the preliminary inquiry on August 14, 2013 read her deposition after Woman Police Constable Natasha Darroux, an immigration officer, said that Dr. Fernandez left Dominica on March 1, 2015.
The report from Dr. Romero Fernandez stated that she found severe hemorrhage and injury to the skull, various lacerations and open wounds, serious internal injuries to lungs. She put cause as death as serious trauma of skull and thorax and very intense and strong trauma which affected different parts of the body. These injuries could have been caused by a vehicular accident or fall, she said.
Inspector George Theophile, crime scene investigator, took photos of the scene of the accident, the vehicle and the body at the PMH morgue. The left front part of the jeep – windscreen, bonnet and fender, left headlamp – was damaged. There was a yellow substance, what appeared to be human hair and what appeared to be blood on the windscreen. There was an opened bottle of beer and a piece of black pudding inside the jeep.
During the trial, Theophile provided photo albums for the perusal of the court.
Corporal Thomas Atidore was at the Traffic Division when the report of the accident came in. He measured the point of impact and where the body finally came to rest as 91 feet. He eventually charged Layne with the offence.
The court also had the opportunity to visit the scene of the accident on Monday, February 1.
In a statement from the Prisoners' Dock, Layne said he was coming from work at the then Melville Hall Airport on the evening of Friday August 10, 2012. As he came off duty that night, he received a call from his girlfriend who asked him to come to pick up his two sons. It was decided that he would pick them up in the morning. He called a friend and they decided to "do a lime" about five in the morning.
He decided to drop his friend home at Massacre. They stopped at the Roseau Market where the friend bought him black pudding and a beer.
On his way back to Roseau he was approaching the bus stop opposite Ma Boyd's Bar when he came around a white vehicle in front of him close to the left side of the road. He got alongside the white vehicle when it suddenly drifted towards him.
He said: "So I reflexively pulled to the right and I turned to the vehicle while turning away. When I returned my gaze to the road the light pole was dead in front of me. I know I could not return to the left because of the vehicle. The pole was right there so I just served around the pole; as I crossed the pole I heard "bax! – a loud cracking noise so I just froze up for a while. I looked to the left of my windscreen I saw it was cracked. By that time I was basically drifting on the road…"
He parked on the western side of the road and went back to where the body lay.
As he wound up a 73-minute defence he said that he did not deny the fact that his vehicle struck the man,
"But I am denying the accusation that I was reckless in my chance to avoid the collision. And the only reason I would act differently in a similar situation is because I know now the outcome, something I had no way of knowing at that time…" he said.
The jury retired near 1:00pm and came back with a verdict of guilty.
Justice Thomas has set sentencing for Friday February 19, 2016 and he has committed the prisoner to the State Prison.