For the second time in 20 years, a resident of Petit Bordel has been jailed for manslaughter of a fellow villager.
James Francois of Petit Bordel has been jailed for seven years and eight months after being found guilty of the February, 28, 2020 manslaughter of Edward “Llowly” Lavia whom he stabbed during an altercation at Petit Bordel.
A 12-member jury arrived at the verdict on May 22, 2023 and the sentence was handed down by Justice Rickie Burnett at High Court #2 on August 4.
But having already spent three years five months and three days on remand, Francois will now spend an additional four years two months and 27 days behind bars after the time on remand is deducted.
According to the prosecution’s case, Lavia was in conversation with another man when Francois, who was nearby, took offence to something Lavia said to the other man. He then indicated that if it were he (Francois), Lavia could not have “gone down in his mother”.
An argument then broke out between Lavia and Francois, during which Francois threw a liquid believed to be rum in the deceased’s face. The deceased responded by pushing Francois, who fell and sustained an injury to his mouth.
Lavia then left the area and went into a neighbouring yard. Francois followed him armed with a broken rum bottle and attempted to stab him without success. On the second attempt, the bottle landed in the neck of the deceased who fell on the steps in the yard.
Persons went to the assistance of the deceased, but he succumbed to his injuries later that day. A post mortem report indicated that the cause of death was a stab wound to the neck.
Defence counsel Michael Wyllie argued that during the altercation between his client and Lavia, the deceased boxed and pushed his client, causing injury to his mouth and tooth.
Francois, who had a rum bottle in his hand, fell to the ground because of this push and the bottle broke. He saw the deceased entering a nearby yard and he followed the deceased, as he thought the deceased was going to get a cutlass to attack him.
When Francois went into the yard, although he did not see a weapon in Lavia’s hand, he struck him ‘somewhere on his body’ and he saw blood, then he left and waited for the police at a shop.
Francois had indicated to the police that the deceased had burst his head before, and he had forgotten about it, however, the deceased constantly harassed him.
At trial, Francois proffered this defence and brought one witness, who indicated that Lavia and Francois worked together and it was Lavia who used to harass Francois, especially when he was drunk.
In his summary, Justice Rickie Burnett said the offence was linked to provocation. He therefore began his calculation of the sentence at 10 years.
The aggravating factors of the offence include that it was committed in a public place and on the premises of a private property. The judge also found that Francois’s use of alcohol may have contributed to his loss of self control.
Mitigating of the offence, was that the intention was to cause serious bodily harm rather than to kill and the prisoner waited on the police to be taken into custody.
The mitigating factors outweighed the aggravating factors and one year was deducted from the sentence.
Aggravating of Francois as an offender, was that he had previously been convicted of manslaughter and mitigating of him was the remorse shown and his assistance to law enforcement officers.
He was only afforded a 15 per cent discount from his sentence, rather than one-third as his guilty plea to manslaughter came during the trial when nine witnesses had already testified.
Counsel Rose Ann Richardson led the prosecution for the Crown.
In 2004, Francois was jailed for eight years after he pleaded guilty to chopping his fellow villager Charles Pierre, who later died.