‘You are free to go,’ judge tells woman
From the Courts
December 11, 2012

‘You are free to go,’ judge tells woman

As Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle told Nicole DeRoche that she was reprimanded and discharged, the tears began streaming.

DeRoche, dressed in a blue blouse and a black skirt, did not look back as she headed straight for the exit.{{more}}

The 31-year-old woman yesterday at the High Court pleaded guilty to manslaughter for causing the death of her common law husband, Emil John, on June 24, 2010 in Canouan.

She had been initially charged with murder. John, a landscaper, died after a domestic dispute with DeRoche.

According to the facts read out by crown counsel Kareem Nelson, the couple lived in a house belonging to DeRoche at Grand Bay in Canouan.

The couple had a very tumultuous relationship, where, witnesses said, from time to time, the deceased was aggressive towards her.

On the fateful day, while they were at home, an argument started, which then became physical.

The deceased grabbed a knife and DeRoche also grabbed one. A scuffle ensued and DeRoche’s knife fell to the ground. In her attempt to push away the hand the deceased held the knife in, his knife went upwards and stabbed him on the left side of his neck.

John was taken to the Canouan Health Centre where he subsequently died.

In mitigation, attorney Kay Bacchus-Browne said her client could have gone through a full trial.

“She could have taken her chance, but she said that she is tired of this matter and did not want to waste the court’s time,” Bacchus-Browne said.

Bacchus-Browne said it was a case of domestic violence and added that her client could have been the one dead.

“He is the one who pulled the knife … She is very contrite and is raising her young child on her own. I am asking this court to be lenient…” Bacchus-Browne added.

Bruce-Lyle, in response, said there was nothing “aggravating” in the case that goes against DeRoche.

“This is a clear-cut case. If the accused had not pleaded guilty and had gone to trial, a properly-directed jury would have returned a verdict of not guilty,” the judge stated.

“Here’s a woman who takes a man into her house and all he does is abuse her mentally and physically … If you are the architect of your own demise, I will have no sympathy for you…

“There is no reason why this lady should go anywhere near jail or pay a fine. There is no need for rehabilitation. You are free to go,” he further said. (KW)