Lavia acquitted of a murder charge
From the Courts
March 18, 2011

Lavia acquitted of a murder charge

Now that he has regained his freedom, Phileon Lavia will be making a few changes in his life.{{more}}

“I plan to live a better life, go back to church and (begin) working with my father again,” Lavia said, minutes after being acquitted of a murder charge at the High Court.

Lavia, 24, of Sandy Bay was on Tuesday, March 15, acquitted by an 11 member jury of the murder of Kevin Theone Bapsite, also of Sandy Bay in August, 2009.

Surrounded by his mother Lucian Lavia, brothers, sisters and his lawyer, Ronald Marks, a visibly relieved Phileon said: “Me feel good about today. Me get back me freedom, so me just happy.”

Describing his time in prison as “rough”, Phileon thanked his lawyer for being there for him throughout.

Lucian Lavia could not contain her emotions as she hugged her son tightly. “I am happy. I have been looking forward to this day for two years because I been praying for my son and now my prayers have been answered,” she said with a huge grin.

The trial, presided over by Justice Gertel Thom saw approximately 12 witnesses being called to the stand to give testimony. The crown’s case, led by counsel Sejilla McDowall, was that the deceased was struck with a bottle in the head during a fight just outside the Hog Hole disco where a function was being held on August 20, 2009 at about 3 a.m.

It was said that members of Baptiste’s family and relatives of Lavia’s family were seen pelting bottles at each other during the altercation. Baptiste died five days later at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

Counsel Marks, speaking outside the courthouse, said he was happy with the verdict that was delieverd by the jury.

Marks said, based on the evidence, there was no way his client struck the deceased.

“The medical evidence shows that it was not a bottle that caused the injury and it looks like an injury more consistent with a stone,” Marks pointed out.

He further added that nobody saw Phileon with a stone that night. Marks said the evidence led by the prosecution was from a “bunch of boys, who from our instructions, were all involved in the attack of Phileon.”

“Phileon was the one who was attacked, they tried to trick the jury, but didnt get through. The truth prevailed in the end and the right decision was made,” Marks said.

Marks said Phileon and his brothers had carried out a citzen’s arrest earlier that night on a man whom they said had broken into their house. According to his instructions, Marks said the friends of this alleged thief were upset and attacked Phileon and his brothers because of what happened.

Shortly after the verdict was annouced, Justice Thom urged Lavia to walk the straight and narrow path and learn to walk away from such situations when they arise.(KW)