The parents of the seven students who died in the Jan. 12, 2015 accident at Rock Gutter were told to wait outside the Serious Offences Court last Friday when a ruling on no case submissions made on behalf of the two accused was handed down.
Ehud Myers, a 67-year-old pastor and Davanan Nanton, a 36-year-old chauffeur were freed of seven counts of involuntary manslaughter after Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias upheld no case submissions made on their behalf.
Gloridene Hoyte-John, mother of Glenroy Michael’s mother, one of the students who died in the crash, was among the parents sitting in the court’s waiting area when the decision was handed down.
She would figure out the decision of the court in the 10-month-long preliminary inquiry by the reaction of the defendants after they exited the courtroom.
“We were not allowed inside the court so we didn’t get first-hand information of the court decision,” Hoyte-John told iWitness News at her home in Fancy on Sunday.
“After the defendants came out, their faces were happy and then I saw the gesture of one of the lawyers, so I assumed that it was a dismissal,” Hoyte-John said, adding that parents were “not really” told officially of the decision.
Rochelle Ashton, whose daughter, Racquel Ashton’s, body was never recovered from the sea after the crash, was also in the waiting area.
She told iWitness News separately on Sunday that she, too, was in the waiting area at the Serious Offences Court when the decision was handed down.
While sitting there, she saw Myers and Nanton and other persons exiting the court.
Ashton said after she saw Nanton came out of the courtroom and hugged his mother.
Ashton then speculated that the court had upheld the no case submissions made two weeks earlier.
Her suspicions were confirmed when Hoyte-John’s aunt, who was inside the court, told them of the magistrate’s decision.
Ashton told iWitness News that they were in the waiting area when a police officer exited the court and told them to turn off their cellphones and to keep their voices down in the waiting area.
She said that as the police officer called for Nanton and Myers, Nanton’s mother also went inside.
She said that Colbert Bowens — a school principal who was initially charged along with Myers and Nanton but against whom the Crown did not proceed — was also in the waiting area.
Bowens and the police officer had a conversation, but Ashton said she doesn’t know what it was about.
Bowens then entered the courtroom.
Hoyte-John told the police officer that the parents were there and Wendy Michael said she was there to represent Chanstacia Stay, whose body was not found.
However, the parents were told the courtroom was full, Hoyte-John said.
“I don’t know if the court room was full, but I said to myself, we are the parents and they should have let us in.”