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Lovelace given another chance

Lovelace given another chance

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Patrick Lovelace who was convicted last year for what was considered to be one of the most heinous crimes in St Vincent and the Grenadines in recent years – the murder of 12-year old Lokeisha Nanton – has won his appeal against the conviction this week.

The Court of Appeal found that the closing speech made by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Colin Williams was unfair. The appellate justices also faulted Justice Louise Blenman for not properly directing the jury that Patrick Lovelace had a good character, having no previous conviction.{{more}}

Before the ink could dry on the judgment, one of Lovelace’s defence attorneys called for the resignation of the DPP who said the call was “ridiculous” and promised that justice will be done – it was just a matter of time.

The Justices of Appeal, Hugh A Rawlins, Denys Barrow SC and Michael Gordon QC, however did not overturn the verdict but rather granted a re-trial at the earliest possible time because they could not tell if the two grounds under which the appeal was granted influenced the verdict returned by the jury.

Lovelace was convicted on Monday, December 20, 2005 for Lokeisha’s murder. Her lifeless body was discovered on July 2, 2002 hanging from a mango tree near London Road, leading to Cane Garden.

In handing down their judgment the Court of Appeal Judges slammed DPP Williams for using words that were “irrelevant, unnecessarily emotional and prejudicial even used for the purpose of drawing a reference”.

One such instance was when Williams told the jury: “I don’t want to offend the sensibilities of us Christians, but like the Last Supper, before he committed the heinous betrayal. But that is not quite at the same level, but I am just drawing the sort of indication – before I rape and kill you, I feed you.”

In the wake of the development defence attorney, Vynette Frederick demanded that DPP Williams resign immediately.

“It is a sad state of affairs when an appeal is granted on such grounds” stated Frederick. She told SEARCHLIGHT that although she is a defense attorney it is not just about winning and found it embarrassing to see a DPP step so far out of line.

“It is a bomb,” declared Frederick who along with her father Bayliss Frederick represented Lovelace at trial.

But DPP Williams remains unfazed by Frederick’s remarks.

“It is all part of the process” adding that he was still very confident that “justice will be done”.

Williams said that while he had to accept the Court of Appeal’s ruling he believed that the British system was out of touch with the language and style of presentations in a Caribbean culture.

Williams told SEARCHLIGHT that he was by no means embarrassed by the judgment.

He also dismissed any suggestion that other lawyers may want to use it as a precedent to appeal other cases that he successfully prosecuted.

“This is by no stretch of the imagination a landmark judgment of any kind and it sets no precedence,” Williams said.

But this view was disputed by Frederick who said that some lawyers, whom she would not name, have already expressed interest in seeing the judgment paper to ascertain if there were similar grounds for appeal in their cases.

Amidst all the legal maneuvering the family of the late Lokeisha Nanton, the Sion Hill community and the nation must now relive the tragedy that stung to the core because the matter is not dead but very much alive and the identity of her killer is yet to be determined.

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