The grandson of prominent Grenadian businessman Edwin DeCaul who was charged with Causing Death by Dangerous Driving following an accident which led to the death of a 13-year-old secondary school student, Donte Felix in April 2017, was last week Friday exonerated from the charge.
22-year-old Andrew Harding could have smiled when high court judge, Justice Paula Gilford announced at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has taken a decision to discontinue the case against him.
Harding was arrested and charged approximately two (2) weeks after the fatal accident that claimed the life of the Paradise, St. Andrew student along the Calivingy main road.
He had posted bail in the sum of $22, 000 and a preliminary inquiry into the charge was held before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill at the St. George’s No. 1 Magistrate’s Court and Harding was committed to stand trial at the High Court.
However, THE NEW TODAY understands that upon review of the file by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, it was found that there was not sufficient evidence presented to the court during the PI that Harding drove recklessly or in a manner that was dangerous to justify a criminal act.
Speaking with reporters shortly after his client was freed, Attorney Arley Gill, who appeared on the case for the very first time, expressed satisfaction with the decision taken by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
“I think that the evidence in this particular (case) is really and truly not the strongest against Mr. Harding. I think that at some levels there is responsibility on the other side (the part of the deceased) and I think it is a fair decision,” he said, but declined to go into the actual evidence of the case.
“There is more than satisfying circumstances for the learned and distinguished Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to discontinue the matter at this time,” he added.
According to Attorney Gill, who is back home after a stint in Dominica as a Magistrate, the DPP “does not have to indicate reasons for discontinuation to (him as) defense counsel, once he is satisfied with the evidence that he has before him (and) that the interest of the virtual complainant and so on has been taken care of.”
He stressed that the DPP constitutionally has that power to do it and expressed the view that he (the DPP) has exercised that power “justifiably, reasonably and judicially in the circumstances.”
If Harding was convicted, he would have faced a maximum penalty of seven (7) years imprisonment.
The form one (1) student at the Westerhall Secondary School, lost his life while attempting to cross the road when he was struck by a Subaru vehicle, driven by Harding traveling in the direction of St. George’s.
Felix, who was still clad in his school uniform when the incident occurred, was accompanied by some of his male peers, who had made it to the other side of the road before him.
There are reports that the other students panicked after witnessing the fatal accident and fled the scene.
Days after the fatality, the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) erected two (2) speed bumps in an effort to effect greater speed control along that portion of the Calivingy main road, which had recorded a number of accidents in the preceding months.