(CMR) The Prosecution has decided to drop the child cruelty charge in the trial of Larry Levers and Michael Stewart this morning on what is anticipated to be the last day of the five-week trial.
Justice Philip St. John-Stevens instructed the jury that during the prosecution's closing statements this morning they did not hear any arguments about the child cruelty charge because the DPP's office had decided to drop the charge entirely.
The charge was the lesser of the two on the indictment that is seeking to hold the two Bonaventure workers responsible for the death of the young Risco Batten. There was some discussion last week about the appropriateness of the lesser charge being that it flows from the same drowning incident and should be sufficiently covered by the manslaughter murder charge.
The prosecution completed their case and the two defense attorneys are now completing their closing arguments to the jury. After that, the judge will provide instructions to them on the remaining manslaughter charge which they will then deliberate on.
Prosecutor Richard Matthews, QC completed his arguments by 11:45 am this morning stressing with was required to prove culpable negligence – essentially stating the workers had a duty of care to 14-year-old Risco Batten which they failed in causing him to drown on that fateful day.