47-year old Roger George is now back into society after 23 years as an inmate at the Dominica State Prison. George was officially set free by high court judge Wynante Adrien Roberts on January 25, 2021.
The brief facts of the case
On October 21, 1999, Roger George was convicted by a nine-member jury for the 1998 murder of his then-girlfriend Elfra Joseph of Vieille Case and sentenced to death by hanging.
The two came back to Dominica in 1998 from St. Maarten and shared an 11 months old son. Elfra had another child from a previous relationship.
Reports are that in 1998, the deceased ask George to see her so they could speak, and to end the relationship it was during that discussion he stabbed her multiple times with a knife.
The pathologist report indicated that three of the wounds penetrated her chest and as a result, her lungs collapsed resulting in her death.
He appealed that decision and on March 27, 2000, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) quashed his murder conviction and instituted Man Slaughter on sentenced him to “life in jail.”
Through his lawyer Zena Moore Dyer, he appealed to the court of appeal on October 4, 2019, asking the court to review his sentence as “time served” but that application was dismissed.
The court of appeal told his lawyer that “we have no jurisdiction to review a decision of a different constituted Court of Appeal.”
He then went back to the high court and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Evalina Baptiste consented stating that given the new learning in law Roger George had served his time.
Justice Adrien-Roberts in her decision stated that it was a mere formality and a report from the Welfare officer indicated that George was remorseful for his action and had apologized to the family of the deceased who had accepted it. Persons from the community of Colihaut where he is from were interview and welcomed the decision to release him from prison.
During his time in prison, he had learned many skills and was not a threat to society. He had also forged a close bond with his son while in prison. He was also a model prisoner.
Although the penalty for Man Slaughter is life in jail, new case laws mandate judges to give a fixed prison sentence with a starting point of 15 years in jail which means that effective August 2020, Roger George had served 23 calendar years in jail the court revealed.
“Roger George you have served 23 calendar years in jail and so have served your time, you are now discharged and free,” the judge said.
Efforts to get comments from George and his lawyer after his released proved unsuccessful.