A meeting with St Lucia's DPP
It was very helpful to speak with Mr Greene in person. He is taking personal charge of the case against those accused of murdering my husband.
I spent virtually the whole day with him, I was there about half past ten and left at three o'clock in the afternoon. I was very grateful to the High Commissioner for his hospitality and to Mr Greene for spending time and sharing details about the case. We went through a great deal of background information and evidence.
The current status is that the expert witness, who’s been asked to give an opinion on the fitness to plead of one of the defendants, is now undertaking further education or research in the UK. The judge has agreed that she should be able to give her evidence via video link from the UK.
The Ministry of Justice in the UK requires eight to ten weeks notice to arrange secure court facilities for that video link. What’s happened is that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office weren’t aware that request has been made, but a courtroom has been booked for just before Easter at the end of March and, all being well, she will be able to give her evidence at that time to the court.
One of the things Mr Greene and I discussed was the timing of any eventual criminal case coming to court. It is clear that in many respects this is a complex case for the judicial authorities in St Lucia, because while I hope to be there myself to give evidence in person, they are relying on witness statements from at least two or three other boats.
The people who found Roger’s body in the water, the people who supported me, the people who gave evidence at the time, they have now all dissipated to the four corners of the world. Arranging video links in good time for them to give evidence will be, I perfectly understand, a significant challenge for the St Lucia authorities.
Taking into account how long everything has taken just to get so far, I came away reflecting that this is just going to be so difficult. In timing terms it is going to take a long, long while to bring this case to a formal conclusion I fear.
The other thing that we discussed in some depth was the case files. I was disappointed that he hadn’t got electronically all the information that I have. I was able to fill in some gaps for him. I have, subsequently, provided him with a couple of supplementary statements that I have made which don’t appear to have made it into his version of the case files.
We talked through the opportunities for the forensic evidence. I’m hoping over the next few weeks that we’ll be able to get greater clarity on what has happened to the forensics, this is an issue that I’ve been seeking information about for the last four years.
I’m really pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Mr Greene, to go through the evidence I had given and discuss that evidence personally with him. It was more upsetting than I had expected, it brought a lot of things back.
The other thing that has upset me is this dawning realisation that we’ve got a long way to go, far further than I think I had understood, and I’m still working through that.
Thank you to everybody for their support, encouragement and stories. We want to keep going and just improve what’s happening in terms of criminal justice, not just for me, but for others in a similar position to me, and them getting justice for their loved ones in St Lucia.