The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

Out­spo­ken con­sti­tu­tional lawyer Mart­i­nus Fran­cois has said that the de­ci­sion of the court to sen­tence French­man Eric Som­mer, who was charged with mur­der, to time served, is out­ra­geous.

Som­mer, who was charged with caus­ing the death of a lo­cal, was sen­tenced af­ter plead­ing guilty to man­slaugh­ter and there­after walked away a free man with a man­slaugh­ter con­vic­tion.

He had spent four years in jail.

Mart­i­nus Fran­cois told the Times the de­vel­op­ment re­flects the dou­ble stan­dards in the le­gal sys­tem here and the govern­ment.

He as­serted that the French govern­ment, the United States and the Euro­pean Union have been putting pres­sure on the ad­min­is­tra­tion here to “go gen­tly” with their na­tion­als.

“Our own peo­ple have been lan­guish­ing on re­mand for umpteen years with­out any mercy, with­out any car­ing on the part of the au­thor­i­ties,” Fran­cois de­clared, adding that the sit­u­a­tion was dis­grace­ful.

Eric Som­mer was charged with mur­der in the May 12, 2012 death of Lu­cas Fran­cois at Pi­geon Is­land.

It is al­leged that the French­man pushed Fran­cois off a boat and re­fused to as­sist him when he asked for help.

The de­ceased, Mart­i­nus Fran­cois told the Times, is his cousin.

He told the Times that the jus­tice sys­tem here will lose all cred­i­bil­ity in the eyes of the peo­ple.

The French Em­bassy, which had sum­moned a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day morn­ing ap­par­ently to ad­dress the Som­mer is­sue, abruptly an­nounced that it had been called off and that the me­dia would be in­formed of a sub­se­quent time. In­stead the Em­bassy is­sued a brief state­ment on the mat­ter later that day.

“Af­ter four years, the Som­mer case is closed. The trial which was an­tic­i­pated by the French au­thor­i­ties, at the high­est level, was fi­nally held and led to the re­lease of Eric Som­mer. Mr. Som­mer left Saint Lu­cia that night,” the Em­bassy state­ment read.

Mart­i­nus Fran­cois

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