No criminal charges will be brought against Shemar Weekes’ mother, or anyone else for that matter, in relation to the unnatural death of the 12-year-old boy last year. At least, not for the time being.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock, QC, told Barbados TODAY this morning that having examined the police file and recommendations from Coroner Manila Renee, he found “insufficient evidence” to recommend prosecution.
“There is insufficient evidence in the police file and in the Coroner’s recommendations to recommend that criminal charges be brought against anyone,” the DPP said.
However, Leacock said he had advised the police to keep the file open, and in the event any new evidence surfaces, the file would be returned to him.
Shemar’s case thrust the issue of child abuse here into the limelight after the former Coleridge & Parry student was found hanging at his Fryer’s Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy home on May 14, 2015. His death, just over a month before that of six-year-old Jahan King, was later ruled a suicide by a pathologist, who had also said that the 15 injuries found on Shemar’s body could have been caused through the normal course of play, although he did not rule out abuse.
Fingers were pointed at his mother Julieanne Weekes and the Child Care Board, which admitted during a coroner’s inquest into the boy’s death that it had acted inappropriately after receiving complaints that the child was being abused.
The coroner had in August referred the case back to the Commissioner of Police for further investigation, ruling that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that a crime had taken place and that it was better suited to be handled by a criminal jurisdiction.
Leacock revealed today that Acting Commissioner responsible for Crime Management Lybron Sobers had sent him the file on October 4, 2016 and he had replied on November 7, 2016, adding that since then the document had been with the police.
The inquest into Shemar’s death heard from 16 people, including the police, neighbours, relatives and officials of the Child Care Board.
During the hearing, the police officer who had recorded Julianne Weekes’ statement three days after the incident told the inquest that the mother had said she and her son had had a good relationship until he entered secondary school, after which he began to give her “back chat”. She said she had beaten him with her hand but was never “excessive in my mode of punishment”.
Weekes, who was the only one present when the boy died, had also said that on the day he died Shemar had appeared normal and not depressed.
In wrapping up the case, the coroner had dismissed the pathologist’s ruling of suicide as a “fallacy”, and had pointed to inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence given by the boy’s mother and stepfather Shawn Greaves.
Weekes, who was in court at the time, broke down in tears when the coroner was describing the noose by which the boy is alleged to have used to kill himself.