September 28, 2007

18 murder cases, 17 rapes among 95 set for Assizes

A long list of cases is down to be heard in this month’s criminal assizes, and lawyers as well as Judges are getting ready for the challenge.

A total of 95 cases are set for hearing before two judges in two courts, sitting simultaneously.{{more}}

The list was presented at the High Court on Monday at the start of the Criminal Assizes, which saw 11 out of 105 jurors absent. Presiding Judge, Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle, warned the jurors that he would “slam the hammer” if they absented themselves.

Of the 95 cases, there are 18 murder cases to be heard, with two set for sentencing. Some of the high profile murder cases include: Francis Williams, who was charged with causing the death of the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Glenn Jackson, and Shorn Samuel, charged with murdering Stacey Wilson. Webster Woodley, Sheldon Bain and Michael Samuel are also on murder charges. Bain, a Grenadian, is set to answer four murder charges.

An alarming 17 rape cases are to be heard during the assizes. St Vincent and the Grenadines is ranked among the top ten countries in the world for rape, as reported by a study done by the World Bank.

Four incest cases involving girls between 13 and 15 years were called, while 121 not guilty pleas were entered, and only three guilty pleas.

Justice Bruce-Lyle was highly annoyed that fifteen defendants had not been served to appear in court, and said it seemed as if no effort was made to contact these people. Nine persons were absent for their cases. (KW)