Francis says jail inmates need a champion

Saint Lucian jail inmates need someone to champion their cause, Human Rights Activist and Attorney at Law, Mary Francis has asserted.

Francis spoke in the context of the freeing of Frenchman, Eric Sommer, this week after he was sentenced to time served on a charge of causing the May 12, 2012 death of Saint Lucian, Lucas Francois.

It is alleged that the Frenchman pushed Francois off a boat anchored at Pigeon Point and refused to assist him when he asked for help.

Eric Sommer had spent over four years in jail, but this week pleaded to the lesser count of manslaughter which was accepted by the prosecution.

Mary Francis told the Times that while she was not privy to what took place in court, it appears that the matter was dealt with in record time.

“I don’t know if pressure was exerted through the executive,” she said

Francis told the Times that it means that Saint Lucian jail inmates who are still behind bars at Bordelais prison need a champion to expedite their matters.

“They need a champion and to have the same clout as Sommer, maybe that’s how you get justice in this place. You must have somebody of consequence behind you,” the outspoken Human Rights Activist stated.

She indicated that may have been extenuating factors in the Sommer case, suggesting that the way the matter was dealt with may have been the result of the Frenchman being a foreigner who might have been deprived of his right to have visits from his family, as well as other factors.

“Perhaps the evidence was tenuous; the state’s case was weak and they came to a conclusion acceptable to both parties,” Francis asserted.

Nevertheless Francis said she did not know the circumstances and could only assume that the matter was dealt with on its merits.

The French Ambassador here,  Eric de La Moussaye, after convening a news conference to discuss the Sommer case, suddenly cancelled and instead issued a brief statement last night.

The statement said that after four years the Sommer case was closed ; the trial that was anticipated by French authorities at the highest level was finally held leading to his release, and the Frenchman had left Saint Lucia.