Virgin Islands businessman Andy Morrell, who faces five charges in connection with a deadly boat crash last October, had his bail extended June 23 in Magistrates’ Court with a $100,000 offer that includes a $20,000 cash component and surety.
The case stems from an Oct. 16 incident where a 40-foot monohull and a 35-foot Contender powerboat crashed sometime after 6:15 p.m. near Prospect Reef, resulting in the death of Frandy Martin Jr., according to a police press release issued Oct. 19.
The wreck also sent five other people to the hospital, police said.
Police charged Mr. Morrell on April 19 with manslaughter, three counts of causing serious injury to a person while on board a vessel, and failing to render assistance after a collision.
When Mr. Morrell was first given bail that month, it came with strict conditions including surrendering his passport to authorities, said his defence attorney, Queen’s Counsel Oliver Smith.
On June 23, Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin heard arguments for less stringent conditions. The defence attorney argued that Mr. Morrell does not pose a flight risk considering he has lived in the VI from age 5 to his current age of 58; his immediate family lives on island; he has business interests here; and he has made no attempt to flee since the incident occurred in October.
Mr. Morrell’s attorney said his inability to travel, particularly to a St. Thomas-based warehouse that is central to his apparel business, has been severely damaging to his livelihood. His attorney requested that his passport be returned on the condition that he still seek approval for any sort of work-related travel before departing, providing details of his travel dates, vessel and place of residence.
While the prosecutor did not object to bail, he argued that authorities should keep Mr. Morrell’s passport and he should be required to get notarised approval to retrieve it when required for work.
The magistrate said that considering the most serious charge Mr. Morrell faces carries a maximum sentence of lifetime imprisonment, she agreed with the prosecution. She stated that Mr. Morrell should be able to do much of his work remotely with the assistance of one of his employees.
She decided that authorities should retain his passport, and that he would be required to check in weekly at a police station. However, he can request permission to travel by providing details of his itinerary. Mr. Morrell is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 1.