After a pause of several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the criminal session of the High Court in Dominica resumed on Tuesday September 22, 2020, and from 11 matters, only two guilty pleas were entered.
Denny Shillingford of St. Joseph, who was indicted for Taking Conveyance, pleaded guilty. According to the charge, on January 4, 2016 in Mahaut, Shillimgford took one Suzuki Escudo jeep without permission from the owner.
At the hearing, he pleaded with the Judge to impose a non custodial sentence as he claims that he is “fed up” of being an inmate at the Dominica State Prison.
He further requested a psychiatric evaluation to determine what causes him to commit crimes.
Shillingford is represented by attorney-at law Peter Alleyne on behalf of the Legal Aid Clinic. The matter was adjourned to November 5, 2020, for sentencing.
The other guilty plea came from Jonathan Walsh of River Street, Roseau who was charged on two counts, Causing Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) With Intent and Unlawful Wounding of Shane Dorival on February 7, 2015, in Roseau.
Walsh pleaded guilty to the second offence. As a result, the prosecution withdrew the GBH charge and sentencing was set for November 6, 2020.
Not guilty pleas were entered in two murder charges. The accused are Rodman Moses Lewis of Solomon Lane, Goodwill, who was arraigned for the November 2015 murder of his girl friend, Triscia Riviere, and Ray Florent of Good Hope for the September 2012 murder of Eddie Lewis of San Sauveur.
The matter against Daveroy Peters of Woodford Hill, who was also charged with murder, was discontinued as it was revealed that the accused succumbed to injuries while he was being sought by the police in 2017 after he escaped from the Dominica State Prison.
The pleas of two individuals were deferred pending a court-authorized evaluation of their fitness to plead. One of them who was indicted for a sexual offence, is due back in court on September 25, while the other, Mustafah Kaleem James of Marigot, accused of Malicious Damage, will return to court on October 28. Their fitness to enter a plea will be determined when they return to court.
Of the two other sexual charges, bail of $10,000 for one of the accused will continue while the other who was reportedly ill, is expected to appear in Court on October 23, 2020, for arraignment.
Romanus John Charles of Pointe Michel and Mandel Joseph Cyrille of Vielle Case, who were indicted for GBH and unlawful wounding, will both return to court on October 23, 2020.
The presiding judge was Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts and the prosecuting team was led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Evelina Baptiste, assisted by State Attorneys Sherma Dalrymple, Carlita Benjamin and Daina Matthew.
The court resumes at 9:00 o’clock this morning with case management.