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Outspoken Attorney at Law Mary Francis has called for an inquest into last week’s fatal police shooting in Choiseul where officers opened fire on a man, identified as Sylvester Modeste, alias ‘Jumper’.
According to the police, Modeste attacked them in a bid to escape custody at the Choiseul police station.
A police release said Modeste had earlier brutally attacked his former domestic partner with a cutlass on Wednesday, December 27, 2023.
The release disclosed that the fatal shooting occurred the following day at about 12:40 p.m.
“There needs to be a Coroner’s inquest according to the Coroner’s Act Section 16,” Mary Francis said regarding the Choiseul incident.
Francis said she had heard nothing from the police except that they were investigating.
However, she lamented that although the police have announced such investigations in the past, people do not learn of the outcome.
Francis said that there would be chaos without accountability and adherence to the rule of law.
She also said the public would not have confidence in the police, who are doing important work and must set an example in complying with the law.
In addition, the Attorney at Law declared that the Coroner’s legislation needed updating and reform to have an independent office with its investigators, separate from the Magistrate who sits as a Coroner.
“The same way we could have a Special Prosecutor now, I think we need to have a special office of Coroner,” she asserted.
Francis, the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, recalled that the chopping victim, Agatha Frank, told the media that the police should not have killed her partner of thirty-eight years and the family’s sole breadwinner.
Frank said she wanted justice for the deceased.
Francis said it appeared there was a history of domestic abuse.
“It is sad that after thirty years of domestic violence advocacy starting with the Women’s Desk in 1985, apparently, the message is not reaching women to understand that they should not remain in abusive relationships,” the Human Rights advocate told St. Lucia Times.