AG says state handling Joshua Etienne matter “reasonably”

Peter described the Joshua Etienne incident as regrettable
Peter described the Joshua Etienne incident as regrettable

Attorney General, Levi Peter, says the state is doing all that it can “reasonably” do in the circumstances to address the death of Joshua Etienne in police custody last August.

He described the incident as “regrettable” and “unacceptable.”

Peters was addressing a press conference held in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.

“As you will be aware on about the 5th of August 2014, we experienced in Dominica the regrettable and unacceptable event of the death of a person namely Joshua Etienne in police custody,” he said. “The main purpose of my address this morning is to point out and reemphasize the fact that the state and the government is doing all that it can reasonably do in the circumstances to address this matter and to see that the system of justice works in the way that it should do.”

However, he took a shot at those he said wanted to used the matter to spread false information.

He said in August 2014, he addressed the media and said that a judicial review was to take place and to explain how the process was likely to un-fold as it relates to those proceedings and beyond.

“You will also recall that I gave the assurance that the state and this government were proceeding to address this matter in accordance to the principles of the rule of law and that any claims of cover up or other improper actions on behalf of the state and the government in this matter were entirely misplaced,” the Attorney General stated. “Regrettably it would appear that in some quarters there are those who, despite the clear evidence before their eyes, are determined to persist in muddying the waters and spread misinformation, confusion and strife in this land.”

He informed that the rule of law means also that all the accused are innocent until and unless they are proven guilty by a lawfully constituted court.

He said whatever personal opinions maybe as to the guilt or otherwise of the accused officers, it must be understood that they are entitled to utilize every legitimate process of law in seeking to exercise their rights.

Peters admitted that “on occasions that may prove frustrating to observers and more particularly to relatives and [those] close to the deceased.”

“That sentiment is entirely understandable in those circumstances. However if we are to respect, adhere to and maintain the rule of law which as a nation we must that is part of the price that we have to pay,” he said.

To further drive his point home, he said to those who are asking what has the state and government done to give this assurance that he is giving, “I pose this question in return : adhering to the principles of the rule of law what more is it that the state and the government could have done in this case that they have not done?”

He said a cursory perusal of a chronology of events would demonstrate that not only has the state acted “expeditiously, but it has acted robustly as reasonably practicable in the circumstances in protecting the public interest and the rule of law.”

Etienne was found dead in police cells in Portsmouth on July 4, 2014, one day after he was arrested for alleged ammunition possession.

An autopsy on his body revealed serious injuries including several broken bones and a punctured organ, among others.

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13 Comments

  1. Anthony Ismael
    April 2, 2015

    Where are the concerned Dominicans who love and support their country? Where have they gone to? How do we condone such incompetence by the Director of Public Prosecution. This is not the first high profile case in Dominica where the citizens have expressed concerns about the course of justice.

    When criminals continuously escape the long arm of the law, they are more embolden to commit even more crimes. The end result is less safety and security for all citizens on the island.

    The Religious community is quick to uphold “Bigotry,” but they are silent when it counts. Not one church leader has come forward thus far and uttered one word on this matter.

  2. Anthony Ismael
    April 1, 2015

    Levi why not do us a favor and resign? Underneath your watch the guilty walks free all the time. We the general public has lost all faith in you and this “Coco-Macaque” Office of Public Incompetence in Dominica.

  3. lawrence Ettienne
    April 1, 2015

    Mr. Peter, as the AG, can you tell the general public, why it is that the police officers who were charged for murdering Joshua Ettienne, are presently arrested but are in police barrack cells? would that be considered a special privilege because they have the opportunity to interact with other police officers alike?
    And with that type of privilege, would you not suggest that it is the breeding ground for perverting the coarse of justice? Is there something like concealing evidences and exhibits? Can a fair trial emerge from all the irregularities we have had over the past few months regarding that case? And will you be willing to answer those questions at your next press conference? Thank you sir, no further question..

  4. CYRIL Volney
    April 1, 2015

    Mr Peters, be mindful of what the St Lucia government is going through right now, with respect to the killings by their police force. Uncle Sam is watching!

  5. Peter Potter
    March 31, 2015

    Mr. Peter is stating: “regrettably it would appear that in some quarters there are those who, despite the clear evidence before their eyes, are determined to persist in muddying the waters and spread misinformation, confusion and strife in this land.”
    Now, which quarters are you referring to, Sir? If you refer to the police and the government and its cabal itself you are absolutely correct in your statement. If you refer to anybody else you are most certainly wrong.

  6. Concerned Dominican
    March 31, 2015

    All we ask is that you put the best legal representatives to represent the state in this matter, get the best and most impartial of police to investigate it properly, present the best evidence without contamination and represent the rule of law and the public interest with impartiality and without prejudice!! Then let the chips fall where they may and let justice prevail. We have seen recent cases where public interest matters have not been properly represented and where mediocre representation has been put forward where the public interest should have been paramount, and as a result, decisions which have been considered to be incomprehensible by persons inside and outside of the legal profession, have been taken, to the detriment of the said public interest. We want this to stop and we want those charged with making representations on our behalf to be free to exercise this duty free of interference! That is all we ask!! Let the legal process takes its court uninterrupted!!

  7. Francisco Telemaque
    March 31, 2015

    “Levi Peter, says the state is doing all that it can “reasonably” do in the circumstances to address the death of Joshua Etienne in police custody last August.”(Levi Peter).

    Man, that is a bunch of hogwash: Levi, you are talking baloney! A crime is committed, the culprits involved are identified, and arrested, you have evidence linking the alleged murderers to the crime, if you had no evidence you would have risk a wrongful arrest law suite against the State.

    The procedure after the arrest is simple: since they are charged with murder, the next step must be their arraignment. After they are arraigned, on that day a trial date is set, jurors are selected and the trial begins. There is nothing more reasonable you can do, except set up the framework to set them free. Man, because you are tag AG doesn’t make the crap you speak relevant, that is useless hogwash!

  8. Chris
    March 31, 2015

    Peters trying to hold the middle when there is clearly no middle to hold on this case with the five police officers.

  9. Trevor Fabien
    March 31, 2015

    My concern is this, for such a clear cut case to be dragged on for this long, one wonders just how long will the more complex cases take? They may never be investigated properly, never mind prosecution and a fair trial.
    This county is Upside Down and Inside Out and this status quo benefits some people nicely but really it’s only causing Dominica to regress into a country on the brink of Poverty and austerity

    • winston warrington
      April 1, 2015

      Trevor, your reasoning disturbs me. You are in Europe, the crime took place in Dominica; what evidence do you have to deduce that this a clear cut case?

  10. March 31, 2015

    Levi Peter is a puppet of the administration. Shame.

  11. grell
    March 31, 2015

    Mr. PETER we a living in a lawless state right now,and you and the corrupt regime are trying to supress the media,but i guess you you haven’t realized we live in an social media world and yes the world is monitoring you and the regime closely.If this was a police that was murdered all these road blocks would not be happening.Do you know your role as AG.Stand for what is right and let the people have the freedom on speech and press.Dominca will be free from all this corruption.The almighty is in control.

  12. faceup
    March 31, 2015

    Some of the Policemen in Dominica are Killers, some of them walking around waiting to beat up somebody…Like giving broken bones, punctured lungs to civilians…Smh

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