November 27, 2020

Woman in arson case found “not guilty”

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IMG_0023Lita Chollette Davis (50) who had admitted to throwing a propane gas canister through the window of her boyfriend’s apartment in Fig Close, West Bay in October 2011, which then exploded, was found not guilty of arson by a jury on Tuesday (29).

Davis is a foreign national and received the assistance of an interpreter throughout the case,

Davis was accused of deliberately and recklessly damaging the apartment where she lived with her boyfriend, Edward Henry, but denied that she intended to cause the destruction, claiming that she did not expect the tank, which she threw in a fit of temper, would explode.

Edward Henry was inside the apartment when the canister exploded in the early hours of the morning, destroying the property, damaging a police car and causing Henry serious injury where he was hospitalised for two weeks and treated for serious flash burns.

Henry was thrown from the apartment by the explosion into the yard just as the police arrived and their car was damaged. The police were answering a report of the earlier altercation between the couple from Henry.

Although Davis did not give evidence during the trial she had told the police after her arrest she had made two attempts to throw the gas tank inside the apartment. She said this was in an effort to get her boyfriend to come outside and talk with her after he had locked her out of the home. This was following an argument they were having that evening, during which she had received a bloody nose and a black eye.

She said she had not meant to cause anyone harm or to cause any damage. She had never imagined the tank of highly flammable liquid that the couple used for cooking would explode.

During the trial the jury had heard that Davis and Henry had had a tumultuous relationship and on the night the incident happened they had been drinking and arguing. Davis had admitted being responsible for the gas ending up inside the property, and the jurors had to decide whether she deliberately meant to cause the damage and whether or not she was aware of the dangers associated with throwing a gas tank into a house.

Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, who was presiding at the trial told the jury the case hung on the defendant’s state of mind at the time but self-induced intoxication was not an excuse to be used as a defence.

The Chief Justice took over two hours in his summation that included an explanation to the jury on the law and the questions they had to decide on, before sending them to deliberate on their verdict. After two hours the jury returned with a verdict of “Not Guilty”.

After the verdict, Henry said he didn’t think justice had been served. He said he could have been killed. He didn’t understand how anyone could do such a thing to him and walk away free.

 

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