Court declines to toss case linked to fatal boat wreck

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: The BVI Beacon

Emotions flared last week in Magistrates’ Court when a defence lawyer requested the dismissal of the case against a man allegedly involved in the boat crash that killed Frandy Martin Jr. in October 2021.

Attorney Gareth Timms, who represents defendant Graham Stanton, asked on Jan. 25 for the case to be dismissed after arguing that the proceedings were “inefficient” and that his client didn’t receive all the evidence from the prosecution.

The case stems from an Oct. 16, 2021 wreck between Mr. Stanton’s 40-foot monohull and a 35-foot Contender powerboat sometime after 6:15 p.m. near Prospect Reef, according to a police press release issued at the time.

The wreck also sent five other people to the hospital, police said.
Mr. Stanton was the second person charged in connection to the incident. On April 19, police charged Virgin Islands businessman Andy Morrell with manslaughter, three counts of causing serious injury to a person while on board a vessel, and failing to render assistance after a collision. Mr. Morrell’s matter is to be heard by the High Court.

Mr. Stanton — who is charged only with failing to render assistance following a collision — appeared in Magistrates’ Court for the first time in November, when Crown Counsel Lyn Daley read aloud the allegations against him.

The defence

Last week, however, Mr. Timms argued that the prosecution had since failed to provide certain interview transcripts and at least two witness statements. He also complained that video footage was provided on DVDs rather than flash drives.

Mr. Timms added that the case has been ongoing for more than 15 months, and he blamed the prosecution for the delays.

He also cited a recent email correspondence between himself and Senior Crown Counsel Kael London. In the exchange, he said, Mr. London denied that witness statements or transcripts were missing and claimed that full disclosure had already been provided earlier in January.

After hearing Mr. Timms last week, Mr. London stood by his email’s claims, telling the court that prosecutors had provided full disclosure earlier in January. He also defended the decision to send DVDs rather than flash drives, which he said typically are only used for large amounts of data.

The prosecutor added that the prosecution is obligated to provide only evidence of the charges against Mr. Graham, showing that there was a collision and that he failed to render assistance afterwards.

Mr. London also said that dismissing the case would be “wholly unreasonable,” in part because the incident resulted in a death.
“This is not a matter worth considering be dismissed,” he said.

Mr. London added that he himself was waiting for more documents and he wasn’t sure exactly when he would be able to obtain them and provide them to the defence. He also agreed to try to provide transcripts and signed statements from two witnesses from the Contender by mid-February.

The presiding magistrate declined to dismiss the case, noting that it was a “fairly new matter” that should not be dismissed so soon.

The magistrate also gave the Crown the opportunity to make further disclosure and said she would give Mr. London one month to “get his house in order.”

Full disclosure is set for March 2.