The lawyer of a former National Carnival Queen who was last week found guilty for assaulting and threatening to kill a police officer is now asking for a modification to his client’s sentence, saying her scholarship is in jeopardy while blaming himself for not appearing in court on her behalf.
Patrika Evence, the 1999 Miss St. Lucia winner from Dennery, was not present in court on Thursday, Nov. 15 and was therefore convicted in absentia.
Evence, a teacher by profession who is currently in Taiwan on a scholarship, was slapped with a six-month custodial sentence for hitting an officer in the face with a piece of wood and a 1,000 fine for threatening to kill the said officer.
In court today, Evence’s lawyer, Wilkie Larcher, not only asked Magistrate Charon Gardner for a modification to the sentence, but to consider setting aside the conviction, noting his client’s clean criminal record prior to this matter.
Larcher said Evence may likely lose her scholarship due to the conviction.
The lawyer also blamed himself for not showing up in court. He told the magistrate that he was aware of the sentencing date, but on that particular day, about the same time the Evence matter was being dealt with, he was attending to a matter in the High Court.
He however noted that a letter was submitted to the magistrate indicating his unavailability.
Larcher pointed out that the law has a provision which allows a magistrate to modify convictions.
However, in response, Magistrate Gardner said though she agrees with him that this provision exits, she is still not obligated to give dismiss the conviction or amend it.
Gardner also noted that Evence, as a former national queen and a teacher, should not have behaved in such a matter seeing that she is seen as a role model in St. Lucia, and has requested an apology as soon as possible from Evence to the policemen.
Gardner said she will make a decision on Larcher’s application later today.
Last week Thursday, Evence’s trial proceeded with the prosecution calling the two officers involved in the matter, Acting Coporal 542 Winters and SPC 109 Ezra Deterville, and investigating officer, Constable Richards.
Officer Deterville was the first to take the witness stand.
According to Deterville, on December 11, 2011, at about 10 pm at Caribbean Cocktails bar in Castries, the bar’s proprietor, known as JJ, instructed his staff not to serve Evence, who had attempted to order a drink.
Evence reportedly became agitated, and according to witness testimony, had an exchange of words with the proprietor, threw a drink in his face, and attempted to get behind the bar.
The court was told that two off-duty officers were on the scene and witnessed the entire incident.
Officer Winters prevented Evence from getting behind the bar and she turned around in anger. Officer Deterville testified that it was at that time he intervened.
Deterville stated: “I noticed that the lady walked toward me in a very aggressive manner. I stopped her and asked her to calm down. I tried to get her away from the scene. She took a piece of wood and knocked me on the left side of my face.”
Deterville said he then released her and heard her say: “You are a dead man”.
Deterville said he felt threatened and made a move towards Evence to place her under arrest, but was advised to refrain by the superior officer on the scene, Winters.
At this point, according to testimony by Winters, they were called away to a disturbance on Jeremie Street, nearby.
At about 11 pm, both witnesses claimed to have returned to the vicinity of Jn Baptiste Street where they had parked their vehicles, and once again encountered Evence.
Both officers claimed to have heard Evence say the following: “I ordered the hit already. You’re a dead man.”
Winters indicated that Evence was pointing to and addressing Deterville while she made the statement.
At that point the two officers arrested Evence and enlisted the assistance of a nearby G4S security vehicle to transport her to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) where they made a formal report.
From there, the investigating officer, Constable Richards, stated that he interviewed Deterville and the witness. He then informed Evence of the claims made against her and interviewed her. To this, it is said that she replied, “I did not mean what I said.”
Richards further stated that he informed Evence that he had suitable grounds to believe that she had committed the offense of assault to the person of Ezra Deterville.
Prosecutor Dominic Leonty asked Richards in court to explain what he meant by suitable grounds. Richards replied that he had observed Deterville to be suffering with pain, and had observed visible swelling on the left side of his face.
Evence has not shown up in court on several occasions and was tried in her absence.
To this end, Magistrate Gardner found Evence guilty of one count of threatening word and one count of assault.
Evence is ordered to pay $1,000 or face four months in prison. On the count of assault, Evence was issued a custodial sentence of six months.
In sentencing the defendant, Gardner stated that she believes the evidence of the witnesses’ was credible and precise.
A commitment warrant will be issued for Evence in the case of the $1,000 fine and a custodial warrant will also be issued in her name.
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