By Monique Washington

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Nevis circuit criminal assizes ended (Dec. 8) with two cases heard, no convictions, seven traversed cases and one charge dismissed, marking no convictions recorded for 2016.

The criminal assizes began on Nov. 1 with 9 case slated to be heard by Her Ladyship Justice Lorraine Williams.

The armed robbery case against Lawton Forbes was the first case to be dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecution. In April, a main witness in this case refused to speak for the prosecution and was thrown in jail for a week for contempt of court.

Two rape cases, one involving Roosevelt Browne and another involving Perry Frederick’s and Roxanne Grant were traversed. The Director of Public Prosecution Valston Graham explained to the court that in both cases the witnesses were either on vacation or not on island and requested that the case be pushed to the April 2017 sitting of the criminal assizes.

The DPP also explained that in the armed robbery case with Delano Browne and the manslaughter case involving Carlisle Clarke Jr. he needed to “familiarize” himself with the cases before he proceeds. Those two cases were pushed to the April assizes.

Ibal Tyson and Franchette Davis, who were both jointly charged with alleged house breaking and larceny and slapped with a second charge of burglary told the court that they were at the time not able to afford a lawyer. Davis said that he was not working while Tyson explained that he was trying to sell his vehicle to raise funds to hire an attorney. Their case was traversed to the April assizes.

The first case heard was that of Dexter Somersal and Craig Halliday, who were charged with the 2008 murder Leon “Gravo” Westerman. Both men were foundnot guilty of the charge by a 12-member jury. The men were represented by defense attorneys Dr. Henry Browne QC and Chesley Hamilton.

Next,was the case of Shantez Mintos, who was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and illegal importation of firearms. After three days of testimony, a 12-member jury was unable to bring in an unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty. His case may be tried in the April assizes.

For 2016, in both the April sitting of the High Court criminal assizes and the November sitting of the criminal assizes there were no convictions.