Seychelles' top court gives prosecutors a deadline for evidence in case of Spanish crew member death
The Seychelles courts building 'Palais de Justice' at Ile du Port, where also sits the Supreme Court. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' Supreme Court has given prosecutors two weeks to submit all evidence against two persons charged in connection with the death of a crew member of a Spanish fishing vessel.
Justice Melchior Vidot said that all evidence should be presented to the defence lawyer for examination before the accused pleads guilty or innocent. He added that this should be done to set a date for trial.
The accused -- a 35-year-old man, Nigel Arrisol, and a 35-year-old woman, Florence Francois – were brought before the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the first time after being discharged on bail.
Francois has been charged with involuntary manslaughter while Arrisol has been charged with accessory for assisting the suspect after the Spanish national died.
The body of Aitor Valtiera -- a Spanish national aged 47 -- was found at Ile du Port, a man-made island near the Seychelles' Port Victoria early last month. The police investigation showed that Valtiera died in the presence of the accused woman who had then sought the assistance of the man -- a driver -- to leave the body at Ile du Port.
The autopsy result has shown that the Spanish national died of a heart attack and water in the lungs, consistent with the use of illegal substances, the police had said.
The prosecutor representing the office of the Attorney General, Khalyaan Karunakaran, said officials are working closely with the police department to compile all evidence to present to the court.
“We still have some photographs and CCTV footage with the police that needs to be presented to court so as to add more weight to our case,” said Karunakaran.
He added, “We feel very positive about the case as we have strong and significant evidence to bring forth.”
The defence lawyer, Nicole Gabriel, told SNA that he thinks this is a weak case as the accused – Francois – has been wrongly charged.
A statement presented by the detective, Timothy Hoarau, to the Magistrate Court said that CCTV and some eyewitness spotted the accused, Francois, leaving with the deceased at the Barrel discotheque in the capital Victoria, in the early morning on June 2nd.
In a statement sent to the Magistrate Court, the police said the incident was reported at around 11:15 a.m. on Friday, June 2nd by Christopher Mutombo, who informed the police that he saw a man who appeared motionless lying down among the casuarinas trees that morning, on his way to the capital.
The case resumes on July 31 at the Supreme Court.