The Director of Public Prosecution, Sejilla McDowall, in a written letter to legal counsel for Cjea Weekes and his family, said that she is of the view that criminal liability does not arise in Weekes’ death.
Lawyer for the Weekes family, Jomo Thomas, made the disclosure last Thursday while Speaking on Boom SVG 106.9FM OMG morning programmes.
Readers will recall that Cjea Weekes died on Sunday 6th February, 2022 at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, following what the Police said was an accident on Wednesday 2nd February, 2022. Natasha Weekes, Cjea’s mother, said her son told before he passed away, that he was run over by a police vehicle. He was 18 years old at the time of his passing.
Thomas on Thursday, said that in her memo, the DPP indicted that she is of the settled view that criminal liability does not arise, and that there seems to be a need for road signs that may point people to where the road goes and where the road ends.
“I am not so sure why that is an issue because the road on which CJea met his death was supposed to be a road, it’s simply in disrepair because the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines did not fix it and that has been the case since 2014/2015 when I was on the hunt in that constituency,” Thomas said, adding that he was unsure how the roadside signs might have helped.
Thomas was the 2015 general elections Unity Labour Party’s candidate in the South Leeward constituency, where the road as referenced is located.
Thomas noted that the DPP in her letter had stated, “… this matter has attracted much attention and unsettling sentiments have been expressed, and anti-police rhetoric of several members of the public have been spurred on by perceived injustice and misinformation laced with propaganda.”
She highlighted that the case files have been retained and will be submitted to the Coroner for an inquest to be initiated.
Thomas said that when the information was transmitted to the lawyers, “We decided that we are going to now start the civil proceedings to try and see if we could get some kind of compensation for the family of Cjea Weeks, on the grounds that the police were negligent in handling the issue and, as a consequence their mishandling, resulted in his death.
“I mean, the information from the mother who was at Cjea’s side before he died, said Cjea informed her that at one time the vehicle was sitting on top of him and if you see the body of Cjea you would see extensive burns and so on his body, broken ribs and so on. So we endeavour to get some information,” promised Thomas.
Towards that end, Thomas disclosed that he has written to the Commissioner of Police, thanking him for promptly for providing the the DPP, and requesting the names of the officers involved in the incident.
“We asked him to release the names of all the occupants of the (police) vehicle that was involved in the incident that led to the death of Cjea,” the lawyer confirmed.
The Commissioner’s response read, in part ‘ … we acknowledge recite of your letter dated August 9th’ 2022…… . Please provide us with the authority that mandates us to grant you your request’.
“I will tell the Commissioner now. The authority is the demands for justice, the demands for fair play the demands for sense, for a notion that is deeply bedded in common law jurisprudence that justice must not only be done, it must appear to be done,” asserted Thomas.
Cjea Weekes’ case aroused much public outcry when it was reported that he died as a result of a police chase involving he and a friend on motopr cycles.
The chase is said to have ended on a ‘dirt’ road in Vermont not before, as Cjea told his mother before he died, that the police transport had run him over.
When Cjea was admitted to the Milton on February 2, 2022, he had a broken spine which let him effectively paralysed, a broken left leg and multiple bruises and burns about his body.