St Vincent man escapes jail after he drove car into political meeting

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A High Court judge has sentenced a 43 year-old man to a two-year suspended prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to driving an uninsured and unlicensed vehicle into a public meeting of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in 2014, resulting in the death of one person.

Justice Brian Cottle imposed the sentence on Antwone “Quincy” Anthony, 43, who has end-stage kidney failure and requires dialysis.

The judge acknowledged that while the case is a serious one that calls for imprisonment, sending Anthony to prison would be tantamount to a death sentence, since the prison is unsuitable for housing a person with such a medical condition.

Justice Cottle said that Anthony’s medical condition also affects his ability to earn an income, and, by extension, pay a fine.

Anthony, a father of eight, the youngest being two years old, pleaded guilty three weeks earlier to charges that on December 6, 2014,  he caused the death of Edgar Cruickshank,  by driving his motor vehicle dangerously.

His sentencing was postponed after he was unable to come to court on the scheduled day, having fallen ill.

Cruickshank, a building contractor, was attending his first meeting of the NDP in years when he met his death. A pathologist concluded that his death resulted from “multiple traumas with cardiac tamponade due to motor vehicle accident”.

Anthony also pleaded guilty to charges that, on the same date, he fraudulently used a vehicle, driving without a driver’s permit and driving an uninsured vehicle. He was charged a total of EC$4,000 (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents).

The Court, however, did not set any specific date by which the man has to pay the fines.

The Court heard that Anthony drove the vehicle recklessly, crashing into a parked vehicle that fell on several people at the meeting, including Cruickshank, who later died in hospital.

Anthony’s four-year-old child who was also in the vehicle was among those injured.

The judge noted that the vehicle Anthony was driving was not road worthy.  It had smooth tyres, had no fan belt, no headlights, no insurance, and bore a false number plate.

Justice Cottle said that the accident had occurred at night and that Anthony must have known that a public meeting was being held in the area, as such events are often well publicised.

The judge, however, noted that Anthony had pleaded guilty to the charges and had no previous convictions.

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