Eight murder cases including two repeat cases are listed for trial during this Session of the Criminal High Court in Roseau beginning on Tuesday January 12, 2016 before trial judge Justice Errol Thomas.

All of the cases were traversed from the September 2015 session which closed on Friday December 18, 2015. A statement from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions headed by Evelina Baptiste said the trials were hampered by the absence of the doctors who conducted the pathologies on the dead bodies.

For more than a decade Dominica has not had any full time pathologist except for short term contractual appointments.

The repeat trials include three siblings Herbert Xavier, Lauretta Xavier and Manuella Williams – who were found guilty of murder of their brother Harrison Williams, 40, during the January 2012 assizes and sentenced to 15 years in prison by trial judge Justice Brian Cottle on March 23, 2012 – and Shane Degallarie who was found guilty of the murder of 19-year old Justin Julian Joseph of Fond Cole in Pottersville on Friday April 23, 2010. Justice Birnie Stephenson sentenced Degallarie to 18 years in prison. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal ordered these cases be retried in 2015.

Among the other murder cases, Vivian Charles for Richard Roy Lazarus between February 8 and 13, 2013 at Providence, Laudat; Clarence Lewis and Bernie Samuel for Marvlyn Robinson at Giraudel on December 12, 2012; Asher James for Kenny George at Wooten Waven on September 20, 2013; Reginald Mann for Glenroy Lockhart at Bath Estate December 26, 2013; Mackenly Williams for Dwight Auguiste at King's Hill between December 3 and 24, 2013, and Daniel Elton Bannis.

The other two traversed cases are causing death by dangerous driving against Layne Orlando Royer on Goodwill Road and indecent assault.

Steady decline

The prison population at Stock Farm has declined from 258 at the end of the criminal assizes in January 2012 to 180 at the beginning of the January 2016 session; i.e. a 30.23% decline.

The male population declined 216 to 178 for 17.59% while the female population dropped from three to two for a decrease of 33.33%.

The prison has capacity for at least 255 inmates.