Policeofficers attend opening of the 2014 Law Year
Policeofficers attend opening of the 2014 Law Year

Justice Errol Thomas sentenced 26-year old David St Jean of Portsmouth to 13 years and three months in prison, minus the time that he has spent in jail, when he appeared at the Roseau High Court on Friday June 12, 2015 for the manslaughter death of 53-year old Clement James also of the Portsmouth community.

St Jean was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 when a jury of five men and four women found him guilty on the charge of murder. Justice Birnie Stephenson heard the case in the high court. St. Jean subsequently appealed the conviction before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; the judges ordered a retrial.

At the retrial, the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions applied to the Judge to withdraw the previous indictment of murder and to replace with a new indictment of manslaughter to which St Jean pleaded guilty when he came to court for the retrial on Wednesday May 20, 2015.

Recalling the evidence, Director of Public Prosecutions Evelina Baptiste explained that the deceased Clement James was walking in a northerly direction on the eastern side of the Indian River Bridge about 3:00pm on Monday September 20, 2010. The prisoner was also on the bridge

From across the bridge St. Jean asked James why he was watching him so, and adding that "don't you know that batty man have to die" and St Jean proceeded to cross the bridge to James and struck him with a piece of wood. James asked why he was beating him so. St Jean repeated: Don't you know batty man have to die, and he again struck James with the piece of wood. They began to wrestle.

Carlos Edwards, an eyewitness was passing by when St Jean, who was sitting on James' upper body asked Edwards to hold down the feet of James. Edwards complied. St Jean pulled out a knife and stabbed James repeatedly while still mouthing the words that "batty man have to die."

St Jean, after stabbing James, exited the bridge on the northern or Portsmouth side left the road going into the bushes on the eastern side of the bridge before swimming south across the river to Glanvillia.

Martin James, a younger brother of the deceased got to the scene and saw his brother lying in a pool of blood. He took charge of his brother, who was subsequently driven to the RF Armour Hospital in Portsmouth before being transferred to the Princess Margaret Hospital where he was attended to by Dr Bernard Francis. He described a deep penetrating wound in the left upper arm, which was described by Judge Errol Thomas as 6.7 centimetres in length 4 centimetres in width and 6 centimetres in depth.

Justice Thomas also looked at the principles of sentencing while also making reference to the aggravating factors which far outweighed the mitigating factors, that after stabbing the man, he ran in the bushes, swam across the river and left the man to die because as he said, the man looked at him in a sexual manner.

The judge noted that the public cannot tolerate senseless murders and that sentencing should be about deterring others from doing the same thing in the future; and that a society always needed protection from a person who kills on a whim.

Agreeing that the life imprisonment carried a benchmark of 15 years for such an offence the natural sentence to him was 20 years. So with his guilty plea the sentence was 13 years three months with time on remand taken into account.