A nine-member mixed jury has acquitted Lester Roberts of Castle Bruce of murder but found him guilty by a majority 7-2 verdict, guilty of manslaughter in the death of his cousin, Gerald Joseph, in December 2016.
The deceased Joseph and Lester Roberts were involved in an argument when the stabbing occurred, resulting in the death of Joseph.
Defense lawyer, Peter Alleyne, said the guilty manslaughter verdict came as “a shock” to him but his counterpart, Trinidadian Keith Scotland who prosecuted on behalf of the State said, “the evidence was there and the jury has spoken.”
“The process and the laws of Dominica took its course; the jury deliberated and arrived at its verdict. The jury has spoken and the prosecution will abide by the decision of the jury which respectfully, is the proper verdict,” Scotland said.
He continued, “The learned trial Judge did, to my mind respectfully, a balanced summation. As a prosecutor, I am mindful of my role to be dispassionate and not to be excited or aggrandized about a verdict. The evidence spoke for itself and the jury analyzed it. The justice system in Dominica is on the right track and I want to commend the office of the learned DPP. There is no feeling of joy in such matters because a life has been lost.”
But defense lawyer Peter Alleyne called the verdict “shocking.”
“I was shocked at the verdict. I thought the 7-2 would have been not guilty of manslaughter; I thought it would have been unanimous not guilty of murder,” Alleyne said. “But I place the blame for that squarely on me because I was overconfident on this matter seeing that it was clear that the accused (Lester Roberts) was trying not to fall backwards over the high wall,”
According to Alleyne, all the witnesses attested to some level of that (provocation by Joseph)by the deceased.
“So I was very disappointed in the verdict and it’s amazing after listening to the case, that is what they got but I suppose is the way I brought out the case, it did not seem to resonate,” he stated. “When a young person dies because of violence, don’t just jump to conclusions that young people are violent. In life, some things happen that are out of our control so we must not always blame the youth. We have to take our responsibility in society,” Alleyne said.
Presiding Judge, Wynannte Adrien-Roberts, has ordered a social inquiry report on Roberts and fixed February 3, 2020, for a sentencing hearing in the matter.
Roberts is on remand at the Stock Farm Prison.