CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – LAWVINGTON FORBES, who was charged for the 2016 murder of Vincie Ferlance, walked out the court a free man after His Lordship Justice Ermin Moise upheld a no-case submission by the defence counsel.
According to the facts of the case, the then 22-year-old Forbes had alleged shot Ferlance of Bath Village, Nevis in the wee hours of Saturday, April 16, 2016.
Information reaching this publication at that time, stated that the 20-year-old was attending a fundraising activity at Lime Beach Bar on Pinney’s Beach for an ailing young woman when he was shot on the dance floor.
He was reportedly shot to the torso at about 3:00 a.m. and died while being transported to the Alexandra Hospital.
Forbes was arrested after police investigations had led to a search of his Hamilton home where he was apprehended on suspicion of murder.
He was subsequently charged with Murder on Sunday, April 17, 2016 and remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison.
A police release had stated that following his arrest and charge for the offence, Inspector Alonzo Carty of the Nevis Division said, “We want to express our thanks to the public for coming forward and assisting the police in this investigation. This community and police partnership was critical in an early arrest and the laying of charges. We look forward to continuing building this relationship with the goal of ensuring citizen safety in our communities.”
Following the Murder charge, a Preliminary Inquiry was held in March 2018 and Forbes was committed to stand trial and an indictment was laid by the DPP on March 13, 2019.
On Friday, November 22, 2019, according to a published document on the Judgment of the Case, Forbes had appeared in the High Court of Justice before His Lordship Justice Ermin Moise.
He was represented by Attorneys-at-Law Patrice Nisbett and Saundra Hector, while the prosecutors were Crown Counsels Teshaun Vasquez and Vaughn Henderson.
The Court had heard evidence from a number of witnesses, including Lime Beach Bar employees Cicardo Baker and Jonessa Jeffers, who knew Forbes and stated that he was the Pizza Chef of the establishment.
Neither of them however claimed to have seen Forbes shooting Ferlance.
According to the document, at least there were apparently three police officers at the scene - Corporal 624 Cleon Michael and Constables 747 Alexis and 687 Antonio Brown.
Michael told the Court that he was in the lounge area when he heard a loud explosion. He then went to the area of the dance floor but did not observe anything. However, after communicating with the DJ he then observed some persons trying to get an individual into a car.
He also said that he got assistance from Browne and Alexis, who both left with the individual in the car, while he secured the crime scene.
The most important witness for the prosecution was Ferlance’s cousin, Mc Kinnon Claxton. It was on his evidence that the prosecution had ultimately hinged its case.
He had however given conflicting statements during the course of the police investigation, being the only witness who claimed to have seen the defendant at the time of the shooting.
This had led to the no-case submission and Justice Moise saying: “In the circumstances of this case, I am not satisfied that the jury would have had sufficient tools to give adequate consideration to the statement given by Mr. Claxton to the police. A conviction on the basis of the evidence presented in this trial would have been unsafe. I therefore upheld the submissions of counsel for the defendant that there was no case to answer and directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.”
NB: Judgment on this case can be found at https://www.eccourts.org/director-of-public-prosecution-v-lawvington-forbes/