Over the years, sexual crimes have been and continue to dominate the assizes list, with more than 80 offences of a sexual nature listed for adjudication in the May Assizes, which opened in St. George’s on April 30, with a total of 181 matters on the cause list.
Among them, is the highly anticipated rape trial of former Vice-Principal of a primary school in the south of the island Devon Francique, which is scheduled to commence next week Tuesday before female High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford.
Francique, who is known to be involved in the modeling industry, was arrested and charged in March 2014, for the alleged rape of a 7-year-old student of his own school.
He was associated with the Las Espacias Modeling Agency and had acted as a judge in several cultural events including the annual Carnival celebrations, especially with the mas bands.
When the accusations first surfaced back in 2014, the School Vice-Principal was already under the police radar after an incident at the school in 2013, in which a male student was accused of holding down another male student and having illegal sexual intercourse with him.
Francique allegedly stood bail for the accused student who was arrested and charged by the police.
An official of the Ministry of Education conducted a search of a computer at the primary school in the south and discovered a number of pornography material and submitted a report to his superiors in which he allegedly pointed fingers at Francique.
The accused child molester, who was 39 years old at the time of the alleged rape is currently on EC$25, 000 bail with two (2) sureties on the conditions that he report to the Central Police Station twice weekly, stay at least 100 yards away from the school and have no contact with the alleged victim.
Francique’s trial was due to start Monday but was adjourned to next week on the discretion of the judge.
Senior Crown Counsel Howard Pinnock is leading the case for the State while the accused is being represented by longstanding attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden.
Another highly anticipated matter coming up in the May Assizes involves 18-year-old Twely Joseph, who was arrested and charged for the alleged rape and slaying of 9-year-old Ariel Bhola of Frequente in Grand Anse, St. George.
The death of the young girl caused an uproar in the country, as her body was found days after she was reported missing, brutally ravaged, in some bushes close to where she lived.
All evidence pointed to the accused teenager, who was recently committed to stand trial in the High Court on indictable charges of Rape and Non-Capital murder.
Out of the 181 matters on the May Assizes list, approximately 20 are for murder and manslaughter, while the remaining figure is shared between arson, grievous/dangerous harm, robbery with violence, Burglary and stealing by reason of employment.