A second man involved in the boat crash that killed Frandy Martin Jr. last October stood before Magistrates’ Court on Friday, facing a charge of failing to render assistance following a collision.
Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards granted a $30,000 cash bail offer to Graham Stanton, 39, after attorney Gareth Timms argued that he was not a flight risk.
The case stems from an Oct. 16, 2021 wreck between Mr. Stanton’s 40-foot monohull and a 35-foot Contender powerboat sometime after 6:15 p.m. near Prospect Reef, according to a police press release issued Oct. 19. The wreck also sent five other people to the hospital, police said.
Mr. Stanton is the second person charged in connection to the incident. On April 19, police charged Virgin Islands businessman Andy Morrell with manslaughter, three counts of causing serious injury to a person while on board a vessel, and failing to render assistance after a collision.
On Friday, Crown Counsel Lyn Daley read the allegations against Mr. Stanton. At the time of the wreck, she said, there were children aboard the 40-foot monohull Blue Bayou, which the Stanton family had recently purchased.
On the day of the collision, the group went to Oil Nut Bay and then to Saba Rock, where Messrs. Morrell and Stanton had a few drinks, according to the prosecutor.
Ms. Daley also read from a police interview in which Mr. Stanton allegedly stated that he had five to six drinks over the course of the day and believed that Mr. Morrell drank about the same amount.
He also claimed that Mr. Morrell took control of the boat when it was returning to Tortola, according to Ms. Daley.
Additionally, Mr. Stanton stated that he went to use the
boat’s bathroom shortly before a major impact trapped him there, the prosecutor said.
Once he got out of the bathroom, he saw his daughter and son, ages 7 and 10, in the water and went in after them, he said in the interview, according to the prosecutor.
Mr. Stanton claimed that he didn’t see anyone else in the water and proceeded to take his injured wife to the hospital, Ms. Daley said.
Because he didn’t see anyone else in the water, he explained, he assumed the other boat was an abandoned vessel or had floated away from Nanny Cay, according to the prosecutor.
Ms. Daley also referenced a witness statement from crash survivor Ray Brewley, who had been aboard the Contender.
In the statement, she noted, Mr. Brewley claimed that at the time of impact the 35-foot powerboat was stopped in the water while passengers took selfies with the sunset.
After the impact, Mr. Brewley reported, he was in and out of consciousness, according to the prosecutor.
Ms. Daley then read a police report from the incident, which noted that both Virgin Islands Search and Rescue and the marine police responded to the scene.
There, they found an unresponsive man in the water and two other people who were seriously injured on the boat, according to the prosecutor.
She also described a pathologist report showing that the cause of Mr. Martin’s death was blunt trauma to the head. The pathologist also noted broken teeth, broken vertebrae, fractured ribs, and brain stem hemorrhage, according to the prosecutor.
Ms. Daley didn’t object to bail for Mr. Stanton and noted that the maximum penalty for his charge is a $10,000 fine and six months in prison.
In requesting bail, Mr. Timms said his client is married and has two young children attending school in the territory. He moved to the VI three years ago to open a fintech business, and he hasn’t had trouble with the law before, according to the attorney.
Mr. Stanton owns a house in the Greenbank area and regularly donates to charity to support a field hospital in the Republic of Senegal, Mr. Timms said.
Because of Mr. Stanton’s “significant ties” to the territory, the attorney argued that he is not a flight risk.
Mr. Timms also said that Mr. Stanton needs his passport and other travel documents in order to conduct business overseas several times a year.
Ms. Richards initially demanded $30,000 signed surety with $10,000 cash bail and forfeited travel documents, but she ultimately changed the requirements to $30,000 cash bail and allowed Mr. Stanton to keep his travel documents.
She also required Mr. Stanton to report to the Road Town Police Station twice a week and to keep the court informed of any travel plans.