The trial of Mr. James, who is accused of reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving, began in High Court yesterday. Mr. James has denied the charges.

Senior Crown Counsel Christilyn Benjamin said in her opening statement that Messrs. James and Parsons were “liming” together at Bomba Shack and had each drunk “a few” beers before heading home at 2 a.m.

Ms. Benjamin said that Mr. James is guilty of the offence if jurors decide that “the risk created by this defendant was both obvious and serious. And the standard to which we are asking you to assess this is that of a reasonably prudent driver: That is you, ladies and gentlemen.”

She said that speed was ruled out as a factor causing the accident and that recklessness doesn’t have a “fancy legal definition.”

“If you’re reckless, you’re careless, you’re inattentive, you’re irresponsible. … You get the picture: the simple everyday meaning,” she said.

Ms. Benjamin said the Crown’s case is built on circumstantial, not direct, evidence.

“Of all the witnesses you will hear, there is no one who actually witnessed the accident,” she said.

The witnesses will include an expert, who recreated the accident using measurements and information gathered at the scene. She didn’t name the expert, but said he would tell the jury, “among other things, that this accident was caused due to fatigue,” she said.

That statement caused Herbert McKenzie, Mr. James’ attorney, to rise to his feet and object.

“We’ll let the expert witness testify to his opinion,” Justice Indra Hariprashad-Charles told the prosecutor.

Witness

The Crown’s first witness, Leona Nichols, Mr. Parsons aunt, said she saw her nephew a few days before the accident and said he looked “fine” and didn’t suffer from any ailments.

Jurors also heard from George Mason, a Royal Virgin Islands Police Force sergeant who responded to the accident that night.

Mr. Mason, who works in the Scenes of Crime Unit, took pictures of Mr. James and the accident scene and gathered evidence. He said that on arrival he saw the Pathfinder lying on its side on the left-hand side of the road with the front facing Road Town and the rear facing West End. He said the vehicle’s headlamps, wipers and indicator lights were on and that blood and oil was on the surface of the road. Mr. Parsons’ body was in the passenger seat, and part of the vehicle was resting on his neck.

“He was in a crouching position. His left and right hands were partially outside the door and a red substance, what appeared to be blood, was running from his head, his nose and mouth,” Mr. Mason said.

As of the Beacon’s print deadline yesterday, defence attorneys were scheduled to cross-examine the witness.

Byron Parsons died when the Nissan Pathfinder he was riding in on Jan. 18, 2007 spun out of control, crashed into a hillside and overturned near Palestina Estate. Jurors will soon decide if the driver, Charles Martin James, is responsible for his death.The trial of Mr. James, who is accused of reckless driving and causing death by reckless driving, began in High Court yesterday. Mr. James has denied the charges.Senior Crown Counsel Christilyn Benjamin said in her opening statement that Messrs. James and Parsons were “liming” together at Bomba Shack and had each drunk “a few” beers before heading home at 2 a.m.Ms. Benjamin said that Mr. James is guilty of the offence if jurors decide that “the risk created by this defendant was both obvious and serious. And the standard to which we are asking you to assess this is that of a reasonably prudent driver: That is you, ladies and gentlemen.”She said that speed was ruled out as a factor causing the accident and that recklessness doesn’t have a “fancy legal definition.”“If you’re reckless, you’re careless, you’re inattentive, you’re irresponsible. … You get the picture: the simple everyday meaning,” she said.Ms. Benjamin said the Crown’s case is built on circumstantial, not direct, evidence.“Of all the witnesses you will hear, there is no one who actually witnessed the accident,” she said.The witnesses will include an expert, who recreated the accident using measurements and information gathered at the scene. She didn’t name the expert, but said he would tell the jury, “among other things, that this accident was caused due to fatigue,” she said.That statement caused Herbert McKenzie, Mr. James’ attorney, to rise to his feet and object.“We’ll let the expert witness testify to his opinion,” Justice Indra Hariprashad-Charles told the prosecutor.WitnessThe Crown’s first witness, Leona Nichols, Mr. Parsons aunt, said she saw her nephew a few days before the accident and said he looked “fine” and didn’t suffer from any ailments.Jurors also heard from George Mason, a Royal Virgin Islands Police Force sergeant who responded to the accident that night.Mr. Mason, who works in the Scenes of Crime Unit, took pictures of Mr. James and the accident scene and gathered evidence. He said that on arrival he saw the Pathfinder lying on its side on the left-hand side of the road with the front facing Road Town and the rear facing West End. He said the vehicle’s headlamps, wipers and indicator lights were on and that blood and oil was on the surface of the road. Mr. Parsons’ body was in the passenger seat, and part of the vehicle was resting on his neck. “He was in a crouching position. His left and right hands were partially outside the door and a red substance, what appeared to be blood, was running from his head, his nose and mouth,” Mr. Mason said. As of the Beacon’s print deadline yesterday, defence attorneys were scheduled to cross-examine the witness.

 


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