Expert witness delayed by court closure in St Lucia

Good morning, my name is Margaret Pratt and I’m talking to you again today because my husband Roger Pratt was murdered in St Lucia in January 2014.

First of all I want to thank everyone for following this blog and our social media. Every month we are getting thousands of hits on social media and reading our blogs.

We’ve updated the blog a couple of times this month about the crime situation in St Lucia and also about the conflicting advice between the Association of British Travel Agents, that advises ‘go to St Lucia and enjoy the festival season’, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, who is saying ‘St Lucia is a dangerous place particularly during festival season and just beware’.

You’ll know from my last update that the Director of Public Prosecutions wanted to commission another review of one of the defendant’s fitness to plead. I’m really pleased to say that the court approved that an expert be appointed, and as I speak to you on Thursday 3 May, he is out there, I understand, assessing whether this defendant is able to plead.

The downside of all of this is I understand the courts have been, all of a sudden, closed to allow infrastructure upgrades to give court staff greater security. Apparently there is a security risk in the court buildings in Castries. In consequence, all the courts and the court staff aren’t sitting.

It has meant that the Director of Public Prosecutions has been able to focus some attention on my case, so I’m really pleased about that. On the other hand I’ve been told that the expert witness is unlikely to be able to present his reports to the courts before September, so we are likely to have a delay of another five or six months probably before the backlog is cleared and the expert witness gets to present his reports to the court.

I find that really disappointing because again we are going to be clocking on time and it is likely to be well passed the five year time frame before this case is even listed for trial. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Thank you all once again for following the Justice for Roger campaign. We are getting traction, we are getting a lot of feedback. Our continuing refrain that the criminal justice system in St Lucia is under significant pressure, it is really under resourced and increasingly, as I’ve just evidenced, out of control.

Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for supporting the campaign. I look forward to talking to you again next month.

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