Sailor Roger Pratt was murdered onboard his yacht in St Lucia earlier this year
The widow of yachtsman Roger Pratt is
concerned she could have to wait up to five years before the four men accused
of his murder go on trial.
In an interview with the Telegraph,
Margaret Pratt, 60, describes how she’s become increasingly frustrated with the
“delays in the judicial process” in St Lucia, despite an “impressive” response
to the case initially.
Mrs Pratt and her 62-year-old husband had
been moored in the commercial port of Vieux Fort when intruders attacked them
on board their 41ft yacht Magnetic
Attraction in January.
Mr Pratt died trying to defend his wife and
Mrs Pratt was later treated in hospital for cuts and bruises following the
Speaking earlier this week, she said:
“Initially it was very impressive, the Royal St Lucia Police really put a lot
of effort into getting evidence and preparing the case.
“More recently I’ve become increasingly
frustrated by the slowness’s in the judicial process and the delays in the
“I’m now concerned that it may be four or
five years before this case comes to court.”
In a statement,
the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) denied that the legal
process had “stalled” but did admit that they were dealing with a “backlog” of
“While I understand Mrs Pratt’s
frustration, one has to get an understanding of how the criminal justice system
works and take into account the available resources,” they said.
“The office of the DPP has the
responsibility to prosecute criminal cases before the courts. Currently there
is a total of over 2,000 cases in the high court and these cases are dealt with
according to antiquity.
“The fact is that the criminal justice
system does not have the resources (judges, prosecutors, physical resources and
support services) to handle this volume of cases expeditiously and so there is
Since the death of Mr Pratt in January, the
four men charged with his murder have appeared in court for a number of
pretrial hearings and are due to attend a hearing today (31 October) regarding
The defendants were committed for trial over
the murder charges on 17 October and the matter was adjourned to 6 February
2015 for the crown to report on the indictment.
A trial date is yet to be set.