Margaret Pratt's Justice Diary - July 2017

Hello, my name is Margaret Pratt. My husband Roger Pratt was murdered in January 2014 on board our boat in St Lucia.

I've just had an update from St Lucia. The voir dire hearing in which the judicial authorities were going to make an assessment of the competence of one of the people who confessed to his murder, whether he indeed had the capacity to plead, was once again deferred, this time for another three months to October.

The circumstances from this deferment were particularly upsetting. My advocate said the proceedings were a disaster.

The psychologist was unavailable to give evidence. We've been looking for him to give evidence, I think this is the fourth time that he's made his assessment but hasn't yet managed to give evidence.

And the crown moreover, that's the prosecution service, were not in possession of the case files.

I'm virtually speechless, that doesn't happen very often.

Mr Greene, the DPP, gave me an assurance before Easter that he was taking personal charge of this case.

We made a little bit of progress, but when he asked for a change of direction in the middle of May he was pushed back by the judge.

Today was the day we needed to get this hearing and assessment made in front of a jury, to assess this man's fitness to plead.

I understand that the judge was pretty angry, so am I, and she's adjourned it again for another three months to 4 October and let's hope, in another four months, maybe the prosecutor will have the case file in front of them, done a bit of preparation and start moving this case forward.

Mr Greene, the DPP, we had a conversation before the May hearing. That was when he told me he had taken personal charge of the case and that he had a plan to make sure that the full murder trial hearing would take place in the autumn.

Because of the disaster that happened this morning, that cannot happen.

There have already been 29 homicides this year in St Lucia. We are also aware of more than 100 incidents of theft and rape relating to yachtspeople in St Lucia.

Tourists and yachtspeople are getting the message, St Lucia is a dangerous place and if something awful happens in St Lucia you're likely to be left high and dry.


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