DPP discontinues murder charge against Heywood Augustine of Portsmouth

In a surprising turn of events, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided to discontinue the murder trial of Heywood Augustine, a day after a nine-member jury was empaneled to try the matter. On November 7, 2023, five men and four women were selected to try the murder case against Augustine, of Sandwich Street, Portsmouth.

Augustine was accused of killing Derek Peters also of Portsmouth on January 1, 2018. Peters died from a gunshot in the back of the neck in the first homicide case in Dominica for that year. Indicted on a charge of murder, the Portsmouth man pleaded not guilty to the charge. Director of Public Prosecution Sherma Dalrymple who led the State’s case informed the Court of the prosecution’s intent to call six witnesses to the stand to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, the following day, when the matter was expected to commence, the DPP informed the Court that she had filed a notice of discontinuance in the matter. Her decision she stated was based on the absence of three eyewitnesses to testify in the matter as well as the evidence presented in the depositions.

The defense team which was led by attorney-at-law Dawn Yearwood Stewart and assisted by Wayne Norde had no objection to the discontinuation of the matter. In response, presiding Judge, Justice Colin Williams, commended Dalrymple for a decision he deemed as “the right decision” in the eyes of the law.

Despite potential public scrutiny, Justice Williams emphasized the importance of making decisions based on legal merit rather than succumbing to external pressures. “Don’t mind the comments, public opinions or public outcry,” Justice Williams asserted, “Those who share their opinions are not lawyers and as DPP, you have to make the right decisions in law as a Minister of Justice.”

During the September sitting of the High Court, individuals facing criminal charges seem to be catching some significant breaks.

Recently, the manslaughter case against Andrew Armour had only one of 12 witnesses testify before Counsel Zena Moore-Dyer moved a no-case submission based on the remainder of the evidence in the depositions. Justice Williams had no option but to advise the jury of seven women and two men to come back with a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

In another instance, the DPP discontinued two separate sexual cases against two men. One of the accused men was charged with two counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse and Indecent Assault on a 14-year-old girl between January 1, 2019, and June 28, 2021. The other accused charged with three sex-related offenses against a girl aged 14 years, which allegedly occurred in 2019, had the case against him discontinued on September 29.

Another case that was in the hands of the juries which saw a sudden end was that of Denley Joseph. On October 5, 2023, Dalrymple filed a notice of discontinuance amid the trial of the male adult of La Plaine, on charges of causing Grievous Bodily Harm and Unlawful Wounding.

The trial was ongoing and the State was down to its sixth and last witness, the investigating officer, when Justice Williams told Joseph, “You may now exit the box” after the jury of six women and three men brought back formal verdicts of “not guilty” on the instructions of the judge.

Counsel Wayne Norde conducted the defence of Joseph who was charged with causing GBH with intent, to Kamina Albert at La Plaine on Monday, August 5, 2013, and unlawful and malicious wounding. Following the notice of discontinuation by the DPP, Justice Williams advised the jury, and the unanimous verdict on both counts was that Denley Joseph was not guilty.

Meanwhile, a woman who was charged with theft had the matter discontinued on September 22 by the DPP Samanthia Cabey. She was accused of stealing from her place of employment, Dev Trading Limited. According to the indictment, it was alleged that between March 31, 2009, and October 31, 2010, at Roseau, Cabey allegedly stole the sum of $159,838.15 in cash belonging to Dev Trading Limited with Shawn Sharma representing. She was further accused of falsifying 30 National Bank of Dominica cheques belonging to Dev Trading Limited required for an accounting purpose, with a view of gaining for herself.

Yet another matter discontinued on the Court list during the September sitting was that of Uroy Vidal, of St. Joseph. The indictment was that, on October 17, 2016, at St. Joseph, Vidal, did assault acting Corporal of Police Naford Joseph with intent to prevent lawful apprehension by driving a motor vehicle toward the police officer.

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  1. Ibo France
    November 10, 2023

    How is it that innocent people like Messrs Lennox Linton and Thompson Fontaine are facing bogus charges before the court for six (6) and counting? Contrastingly, people charged with murder are walking free.

    This administration has a callous disregard for justice. We have literally surrendered the country to a tyrannical, incoherent dunce.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0
    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 15, 2023

      Well, Dominica is the only place I find a so called judge seems more than happy to set murders free, and decides it is in the interest of justice and law to free criminals who commit heinous crimes.
      The only case among the lot which I believe should not have been on court docket, is the one involving Armour. If it is the boating incident; in my opinion was an accident!
      When someone is rape, sexual assaulted against their will, that affects the victim man/woman psychologically for the rest of their natural life.
      How can one set such assailants free. Here’s what’s wrong: whereas there are six witnesses, three disappeared, what happens to evidence obtained from the remaining three in the deposition!
      The way I see it: I would not be suppressed if judge, prosecutors, defense attorneys are not all in cahoots ensuring the disappearance of witnesses for a fee, I don’t put anything past anyone in Dominica, where most in authority are corrupt!
      Bribery still pays dividends in Dominica!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 15, 2023

      One thing most most people with common sense understand by now is that the corrupted crook Roosevelt Skerrit, is using Thomson, and Lennox as scapegoats.
      He and the entire judicial system knows that they are politically victimizing them both.
      Whenever, Roosevelt finds his world at home or in public is about to turn upside down, he sends his goons aided and abetted by scum of the earth Peter, and Whoever dog is chief of police!
      Identity the victimization, by simply asking, how come the disoriented so called speaker of the house Issac, was arrested and charged with the same offense as Lennox, and Thomson, nevertheless, Issac is in Roosevelt cabal in parliament, but every minute Roosevelt police hounds Lennox, and Thomson.
      The reality is that SOD, Roosevelt, that SOB, Peters, that SOB police dog or chief knows they don’t have any case against Lennox and Thomson, that’s why it remains dormant!
      Any magistrate who would not recuse themselves from that case would have to be a fool.

  2. Truth Be Told
    November 10, 2023

    Is only Dr. Thomson Fontaine (PhD) case that is supposed to go on year on year in Dominica to satisfy Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit political victimization of any opposition to his rule!
    Dominicans do you all see how malicious, vindictive and corrupt your government and justice system are? Do not worry, God is not asleep, we shall all be judged by the same measure that we judged others! One day we will all face the creator God with our evil hearts and evil conscience. Dominica has become a purely evil country in all ways!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0
  3. DAFriend
    November 10, 2023

    Who would be brave enough to argue with me that our country is now a lawless state courtesy of that gangster in charge. It’s utterly unbelievable. All you Dominicans still happy with the status quo???

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0
  4. Marvin
    November 10, 2023

    Sherma is the WORSE DPP ever appointed. More cases are being thrown out than being tried at the Court. No justice for the families who have been waiting for years.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0
  5. Jonathan Y St Jean
    November 9, 2023

    Justice delayed is Justice denied. The judiciary in Dominica ought to be ashamed of themselves. I’ve lost count of the number of cases which have been discontinued in this sh*t-hole country. It looks like it’s now a new legal strategy being used to protect those who have gone afoul of the laws of the country and for whatever reason they want to skirt punishment. If it’s a matter of insufficient practitioners in law enforcement, insufficient training and expertise or whatever, these deficiencies can be fixed so that confidence can be restored in the judiciary. Calling for an amnesty on illegal guns alone isn’t being serious about putting a stop to lawlessness in Dominica because those engaged in the lawlessness see law enforcement as a pappyshow with cases being discontinued one after the other. This is part of the pudding of the “next level ” vision we were offered twenty years ago. And there are many more lawyers offices in Dominica now. What’s going on? HELP!!.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0
    • Ibo France
      November 11, 2023

      The justice system plays a pivotal role in the good governance of any country. a when it is corrupt or deficient democracy is eroded.

      In Dominica, the judiciary does not dispense justice anymore. Murderers and robbers are walking unscathed; child sexual abusers are getting a slap on the wrist; innocent citizens are dragged before the court for what seems like an eternity; suspects are put on remand for as many as 8+ years languishing in filthy, inhuman conditions.

      The current, corrupt, injudicious regime has turned democracy on its head.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

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