Human Rights Activist, Mary Francis, has called for an inquest into the death at sea of Dennery resident, Yves Mitchel James.
Relatives of the deceased claimed that he was shot dead by the police.
(Yves Mitchel James)
The police on the other hand, have said that the thirty-three year old died after a local fishing canoe with three persons on board collided with a Marine Unit vessel on Saturday, July 22, 2017, at around 1:00 a.m.
“Prior to the collision, several attempts were made to stop said vessel, but to no avail,” a police statement said.
Mary Francis believes there must be an inquest into the matter because there seem to be two versions of the incident.
Francis, who is he Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, said instead of the police carrying out an internal investigation then passing the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions, there is need for an independent probe.
She told the Times that the Coroners Act should be amended to provide for a Coroner with an independent team of investigators separate from the police.
“Unless we have that we cannot say that the whole system is transparent,” the outspoken Attorney at Law declared.
She observed that reforms take too long in this country.
Francis noted that her remarks were coming against the backdrop of the OECS Supreme Court observing its 50th anniversary this year.
“There will be jubilation this weekend with a big dinner – yes it is good to congratulate ourselves, clap our hands and drink and clink our glasses, but what have we accomplished?” She told the Times.
Although noting that there have been accomplishments, Francis said there was need for reflection.
“It is a shame that after 50 years there is still no real access to justice for the poor,” she lamented.
Relatives of Yves Mitchel James claimed that he was shot at close range by the police.
“They shot him in his head – close range,” Colette Burin, the girlfriend of the deceased told reporters earlier this week prior to the release of the post mortem results by the police.
She called on the authorities to ensure that police officers stop killing innocent people.
Chaline James, a cousin of the deceased claimed that the police shot Yves Mitchel James on the water.
“At the end of the day you all got no drugs on the boat, so why did you all kill my cousin?” She demanded, adding that the deceased went fishing to put food on the table for his family, including three children.
(Colette Burin (l) and Chaline James)
A police statement Wednesday said that on Monday, July 24, 2017, a post mortem examination was conducted.
It revealed that Yves Mitchel James died as a result of traumatic brain injury evidenced by “global subarachnoid haemorrhage” or bleeding around the brain and cerebral contusion (bruising of the brain) secondary to “comminuted fractures to the cranium”.
The police statement added that investigations are continuing into the matter.