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He is still a suspect!

This week we focus on the statement ‘A man is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.’ We have found it necessary to do so after observing the glee from the public as one man was arrested and charged in connection with the death of Josiah Jonty Robinson whose body was found on BBC beach. That incident in June sparked international attention after which information was posted on social media that he was killed because of his homosexual lifestyle. This led to Grenada being labelled as a country with little tolerance for people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual; it’s anyone’s guess what this information can do to our tourism product.

American actor and film maker -Tyler Perry, upon hearing about the death through his friend – Yvette Noel-Schure, linked the incident to victims of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic etcetera. Together they offered a reward of US$100, 000 to anyone who brings forth information that can lead to the conviction of the murderer of Jonty. What we should all pay attention to are the words “lead to the conviction” as opposed to a suspect being arrested and charged by the police.

According to the police, a man was arrested and charged last weekend. But isn’t it too early to conclude that he will actually be found guilty by the court? Let’s revisit the March 2018 Shaniel Blackman’s case where he was shot to death in proximity to his home at Belmont, Saint George. Acting on information, wasn’t Ricardo Edgar arrested by the police and charged with non-capital murder, illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal possession of ammunition, in connection to that case? He was brought before the court and his trial commenced before Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the St George’s No.1 High Court, with the empanelment of a 12-member jury.

However, the St George’s High Court was forced to abort and reschedule the case after one out of the 12 witnesses, presented what was termed “prejudicial evidence”. The point here is that he is still innocent and is only a suspect. A local lawyer shared with us that while the police mostly act on information received, the court makes a determination based on evidence and a man is innocent until proven guilty in court not in social media. With this in mind, isn’t it premature to conclude that the case of Jonty Robinson has been solved?

In listening carefully to the police, one gets the impression that they too are of the opinion that the case has been solved the way ACP Vannie Curwen, the officer in charge of crimes, expressed his optimism that they had solved it. The officer obviously has the confidence that they have charged the right man, but isn’t it fair to say that until the end of the case, Javid Raymond of Circular Drive in Frequente is just a suspect?

The police must make it quite clear that while they may have collected enough information to make an arrest and charge, that is just the beginning and trials are most times not swift; they can stretch out for quite a while. In fact, one report in local news stated that the accused made his first appearance in court on Monday (September 09) and is scheduled to make another appearance in October, but it can take months before the actual trial begins.

Pardon us Sir, if we read you wrongly, but it may have assist the many people who got busy again on social media to understand your procedure, had you been clearer at the police press conference in establishing that your role is to arrest and charge and the rest is up to the court. So now we are seeing the call for an apology from Tyler Perry and Yvette Noel-Schure getting stronger as people have declared Raymond guilty and expressed their opinions that those two people have erroneously established internationally that Grenada is homophobic. The new information on Jonty’s death is that he was killed by one of his own during a romantic operation. Isn’t this a far cry from what is termed ‘hate crimes’?  On many occasions people would make it their duty to be near the court to get a glimpse of an accused person and from that day he/she is declared guilty by the public. Let’s try to work together on this one and patiently await to see what the court’s finding is at the end of the case.

It would be nice though if the American actor and film maker whose movies we all enjoy, should put out a statement explaining that he, most likely, acted prematurely by jumping to that conclusion, if we got his message correctly. He may also have been ill-informed, but his posts could have caused some damages to Grenada’s good name. Shouldn’t the Grenadian talk show host who pedaled that misinformation about the cause of Jonty’s death being as a result of Grenadians being homophobic come forward too with a statement? It may serve him well mainly to get people to trust his work going forward since he seems to command a fairly good following. A timely reminder came from Prime Minister Mitchell this week as he warned social media influencers to be mindful that what they post online are based on facts and not just opinions without basis. 

Another important fact is that lawyers have argued to their benefit that people’s judgement in public have interfered with the outcome of their case. Let’s quietly wait!

He is still a suspect!

This week we focus on the statement ‘A man is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.’ We have found it necessary to do so after observing the glee from the public as one man was arrested and charged in connection with the death of Josiah Jonty Robinson whose body was found on BBC beach. That incident in June sparked international attention after which information was posted on social media that he was killed because of his homosexual lifestyle. This led to Grenada being labelled as a country with little tolerance for people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual; it’s anyone’s guess what this information can do to our tourism product.

American actor and film maker -Tyler Perry, upon hearing about the death through his friend – Yvette Noel-Schure, linked the incident to victims of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic etcetera. Together they offered a reward of US$100, 000 to anyone who brings forth information that can lead to the conviction of the murderer of Jonty. What we should all pay attention to are the words “lead to the conviction” as opposed to a suspect being arrested and charged by the police.

According to the police, a man was arrested and charged last weekend. But isn’t it too early to conclude that he will actually be found guilty by the court? Let’s revisit the March 2018 Shaniel Blackman’s case where he was shot to death in proximity to his home at Belmont, Saint George. Acting on information, wasn’t Ricardo Edgar arrested by the police and charged with non-capital murder, illegal possession of a firearm, and illegal possession of ammunition, in connection to that case? He was brought before the court and his trial commenced before Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the St George’s No.1 High Court, with the empanelment of a 12-member jury.

However, the St George’s High Court was forced to abort and reschedule the case after one out of the 12 witnesses, presented what was termed “prejudicial evidence”. The point here is that he is still innocent and is only a suspect. A local lawyer shared with us that while the police mostly act on information received, the court makes a determination based on evidence and a man is innocent until proven guilty in court not in social media. With this in mind, isn’t it premature to conclude that the case of Jonty Robinson has been solved?

In listening carefully to the police, one gets the impression that they too are of the opinion that the case has been solved the way ACP Vannie Curwen, the officer in charge of crimes, expressed his optimism that they had solved it. The officer obviously has the confidence that they have charged the right man, but isn’t it fair to say that until the end of the case, Javid Raymond of Circular Drive in Frequente is just a suspect?

The police must make it quite clear that while they may have collected enough information to make an arrest and charge, that is just the beginning and trials are most times not swift; they can stretch out for quite a while. In fact, one report in local news stated that the accused made his first appearance in court on Monday (September 09) and is scheduled to make another appearance in October, but it can take months before the actual trial begins.

Pardon us Sir, if we read you wrongly, but it may have assist the many people who got busy again on social media to understand your procedure, had you been clearer at the police press conference in establishing that your role is to arrest and charge and the rest is up to the court. So now we are seeing the call for an apology from Tyler Perry and Yvette Noel-Schure getting stronger as people have declared Raymond guilty and expressed their opinions that those two people have erroneously established internationally that Grenada is homophobic. The new information on Jonty’s death is that he was killed by one of his own during a romantic operation. Isn’t this a far cry from what is termed ‘hate crimes’?  On many occasions people would make it their duty to be near the court to get a glimpse of an accused person and from that day he/she is declared guilty by the public. Let’s try to work together on this one and patiently await to see what the court’s finding is at the end of the case.

It would be nice though if the American actor and film maker whose movies we all enjoy, should put out a statement explaining that he, most likely, acted prematurely by jumping to that conclusion, if we got his message correctly. He may also have been ill-informed, but his posts could have caused some damages to Grenada’s good name. Shouldn’t the Grenadian talk show host who pedaled that misinformation about the cause of Jonty’s death being as a result of Grenadians being homophobic come forward too with a statement? It may serve him well mainly to get people to trust his work going forward since he seems to command a fairly good following. A timely reminder came from Prime Minister Mitchell this week as he warned social media influencers to be mindful that what they post online are based on facts and not just opinions without basis. 

Another important fact is that lawyers have argued to their benefit that people’s judgement in public have interfered with the outcome of their case. Let’s quietly wait!

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