In the face of widespread condemnation on social media, the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has apparently backed away, for the time being, from laying charges against the wife of Evan Smith, the local man who was beaten up by a white family in the well-to-do Fort Jeudy area last week Thursday over an incident involving a dog.
A high-level police source told THE NEW TODAY that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has now taken over the matter fully and removed it from the hands of the police force, headed by Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin.
The source who spoke on condition that he was not identified said that the DPP office gave instructions Friday to the Police High Command to take only a statement from the Smith family and to send the files over to them for perusal in order to determine the way forward in the matter.
Evan and Nicole Smith turned up at the South St. George Police station Saturday morning at approximately 10:55 a.m. accompanied by two lawyers – Dr. Francis Alexis, QC and Derick Sylvester who is also looking after the interest of her husband in a civil lawsuit filed against the white family from Egmont for beating him up.
About one hour and 5 minutes later, the party emerged with Sylvester announcing to local reporters outside the building that the husband and wife gave statements to the police and were allowed to leave the compound without any charges being laid against either of them.
Sylvester had received a telephone call yesterday from a female Corporal of Police asking for Smith’s wife to come into South St. George Police Station to be questioned and then charged for trespass on property and for either using obscene or threatening language.
Six days ago, police charged Donal Kavanagh, who is from Ireland, and his female companion Sarah Hatton with the criminal charge of Harm for allegedly beating Smith in the head, face and body after the vehicle he was driving hit and killed their dog on the Fort Jeudy Main Road.
The two also allegedly held Smith hostage by removing the keys from his vehicle and forcing him to stay inside it until the police arrived to investigate the killing of the dog.
Kavanagh and Hatton are due to make their first appearance before a St. George’s Magistrate’s Court on July 28 to answer the charge in a case that is now attracting nationwide attention.
Attorney Sylvester has stated that his private investigators discovered that Kavanagh is well known to the police and has been identified as the person who services, without taking pay at times, the engines on the vessels of the local Coastguard.
Sources told THE NEW TODAY that Dr. Alexis called Sylvester late Friday and volunteered his legal expertise to join the defence team on behalf of the local black family who is coming up against some wealthy whites.
Hatton is said to have already spent in excess of EC$1 million on real estate property since arriving in Grenada.
The English-born woman has alleged that Smith’s wife cursed her after the beating incident and also trespassed on the construction site of a new home that they are building in Fort Jeudy.
Kavanagh and Hatton are currently living in Egmont, a nearby upscale area that was started about 25 years ago by a group of local investors including the father of the island’s current Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele.
There are reports that Hatton’s lawyer, Ambassador Arley Gill is making moves to bring “cross charges” against Nicole Smith on behalf of the white English woman.
Gill is currently working out of the law firm started by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David.
The turn of events involving the police comes days after Sylvester filed a civil lawsuit in the Supreme Court Registry against the white couple and two sons seeking monetary compensation for mauling Smith who is known to be physically challenged.
A senior defence lawyer has questioned the rationale of RGPF’s apparent decision taken yesterday to lay charges against Smith’s wife without allegedly first seeking legal guidance from the office of the DPP.
He said it raises questions as to whether or not the police “were taking instructions from somewhere else” to bring charges against Nicole Smith.
“I am happy with the turn of events. The police (are) ridiculous in this case. I am really, really, really disappointed in Edvin (Martin) and his handling of the (Police) Force in general. I was expecting different from him,” said a Grenadian intellectual working in the Diaspora.
When reports surfaced Friday that local police were looking for Smith’s wife to press charges against her, a number of locals slammed RGPF for trying to pursue a local woman who came to the assistance of her helpless husband who was beaten by the white couple.
“I can guarantee you if this isn’t handled properly you will see massive demonstrations because it has now been made political.
I hope they investigate properly before looking to charge and arrest (Smith’s wife),” said one local.
“If Evan’s wife is charged, more protests. This is so disgusting. What (is) my nation coming to? Dreadful. They’re looking for another revolution. Interesting, they (white couple) went to Peter David’s firm,” added another local.
According to another local, there seems to be a plan unfolding to try and discredit Smith’s wife in the case with the release on social media of videos in support of the white family from Europe.
“That’s just ridiculous. I’m totally lost for words. I don’t think anyone expected such a development. The nation needs to rally around the local family. Yes, it has to. We can’t take this thing like that. This is unbelievable! Our country has become a “pappy show” under some of these lawyers and the police worse”.
One week ago, several Grenadians assembled outside Fort Jeudy gap with placards in hand and chanting slogans and calling for justice to be given to the beaten Smith.