Will St. Rose be Set Free?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

After spend­ing six years on re­mand at the Borde­lais Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, the mur­der trial of Jonathan St. Rose, Lyn­den Blasse and Marvin Terry Nel­son fi­nally got un­der in Fe­bru­ary 2015. The three were charged in the Fe­bru­ary 2009 mur­der of Dwayne “Chubby” James. How­ever, after sev­eral ad­journ­ments and de­lays the case was in­con­clu­sive in May of 2015.

The jury failed to ar­rive at a unan­i­mous ver­dict re­sult­ing in a mis­trial. The then DPP Vic­to­ria Charles-Clarke later stated that she would re­quest a re­trial. The DPP sub­se­quently went on re­tire­ment and sev­eral de­lays were ex­pe­ri­enced in ar­riv­ing at a date for a new trial. The STAR learnt ear­lier this year that the case would be re­tried in May.

On Tues­day May 31st St. Rose ap­peared in court but the mat­ter was ad­journed be­cause the pros­e­cu­tor re­port­edly had in his pos­ses­sion the wrong file. He re­turned on Wed­nes­day when a lesser plea of man­slaugh­ter was en­tered in ex­change for a re­duc­tion in sen­tence.

The STAR has been in­formed that lawyers and ad­vi­sors for St. Rose have en­cour­aged the ac­cep­tance of the man­slaugh­ter charge in the hope that he will be re­leased for “time served.” This, ac­cord­ing to sources, is based on prece­dence, which was set ear­lier this year when a French na­tional was set free on a charge of man­slaugh­ter.

On March 16th, 2016 French na­tional Eric Som­mer was sen­tenced by Jus­tice Mar­garet Price-Find­lay after he pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter. He was charged with caus­ing the death of Lu­cas Fran­cois at Pi­geon Is­land on May 12th, 2012 and had been on re­mand with­out a fair hear­ing up un­til that time.

The gov­ern­ment had been un­der mount­ing pres­sure from the French gov­ern­ment to ex­pe­dite the mat­ter in­volv­ing Som­mer.

Som­mer was sen­tenced to time served (four years) and was re­leased on March 16th, 2016.

St. Rose is ex­pected to re­turn to court later this month when a judge will de­cide his fate. No word yet as to whether his co-ac­cused will also plead guilty to man­slaugh­ter.

The Saint Lu­cia Air and Sea Ports Au­thor­ity (SLASPA), through the Divi­sion of Mar­itime Af­fairs, will com­mence the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of crew on board com­mer­cial ves­sels, op­er­at­ing within Saint Lu­cian wa­ters. The pro­gramme is set to sail from 1st June, 2016 and will tar­get an es­ti­mated four hun­dred crew mem­bers work­ing on board na­tion­ally reg­is­tered ves­sels.

The Di­rec­tor of Mar­itime Af­fairs, Mr. Christo­pher Alexan­der, in­di­cated that, “This ini­tia­tive is an­other step by the Au­thor­ity in the holis­tic ap­proach of in­creas­ing over­all boat­ing safety on Saint Lu­cian flagged ves­sels. The crew in­vari­ably needs to in­ter­face with other craft or equip­ment and there­fore re­quires tech­ni­cal skills for the safety of the ves­sel, crew and pas­sen­gers alike.”

The man­ual “Ba­sic Sea­man­ship Crew Train­ing” has been de­vel­oped by the Divi­sion of Mar­itime Af­fairs and fol­lows the stan­dards set by the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion (IMO). It pre­scribes pol­icy, stan­dards, in­struc­tions, pro­ce­dures, and guid­ance. It is ex­pected that by 2017 this cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will be­come a manda­tory re­quire­ment for crew em­ployed on com­mer­cial ves­sels (ply­ing for hire).

The ob­jec­tive of the crew train­ing pro­gramme is to al­low crew mem­bers to ac­quire the knowl­edge and skills re­quired to per­form safely and man­age emer­gency sit­u­a­tions on ves­sels.

Johnathan St. Rose, who has been in­car­cer­ated now for seven years, be­ing es­corted back to Borde­lais fol­low­ing last year’s mis­trial.

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