Shortly after 6 in the evening Jasmine Hartin AKA Jasmine Ashcroft was charged with manslaughter by negligence in the San Pedro magistrate court. The charge was placed on her after an unusual day where the media was first ejected from the courtroom, and thereafter expelled from the court compound. Observers noted that the Belize Police Department went to extraordinary lengths to shield Hartin from the media, including shuttering the windows of the seaside police station where she was being held pending her arraignment. Direction had been previously been given by DPP Cheryl Lynn Vidal for Jasmine Hartin-Ashcrot to be charged with manslaughter. High flying local lawyer Godfrey Smith represented Hartin.
After protracted legal wrangling in the court of magistrate Christine Perrera, Hartin was denied bail and remanded to the Hattieville Prison on the mainland. Under Belize law manslaughter by negligence is the mildest charge that can be brought against a suspect in a case of homicide. Bail is usually given unless the accused is considered a flight risk because of foreign nationality, means and ability to flee the jurisdiction. For Hartin the next step is to apply for bail at the Supreme Court.
This morning Commissioner of Police Chester Williams informed the media that the investigation into the fatal shooting of Superintendent Henry Jemmott has been concluded, and the file is now with the Director of Public Prosecution for her instructions. Williams also informed that Jasmine Hartin partner of Andrew Ashcroft remains in custody until the D.P.P. issues her directives. Mr. Williams stated that he trusts in the competence of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and he added that the DPP is an exceptional prosecutor.
Jasmine Hartin, partner of Andrew Ashcroft, the son of Tory peer Lord Michael Ashcroft, has been in custody since early Friday morning after Superintendent Henry Jemmott, 42, was found floating dead in the water off San Pedro Ambergris Caye island.The two were drinking and socializing on a pier before dad-of-five Jemmott was killed by a bullet which hit him behind his right ear, allegedly fired by his own service weapon.
Hartin told detectives she was giving the officer a midnight massage moments before the “freak accident”, according to local news reports.
According to ComPol Williams, the post mortem results showed that the fatal shootings was a homicide and not a suicide. The COMPOL informed that Jasmine Hartin gave a caution statement in which she gave her version about what transpired in relation to the fatal shooting of Superintendent Henry Jemmott. The slain law police chief’s funeral has been scheduled for 12 June in his native Dangriga in Belize’s Stann Creek district.
About Bail For Homicide In Belize
Only for murder do the Belize courts not give bail at arraignment. However the magistrates court can give bail for some specific charges, which are summary offenses. Cases that will be heard at the Supreme Court are called indictable offenses because the charge sheet is also called an Indictment. Cases that will be tried at magistrate court are called summary offenses and the charge sheet is called an Information and Complaint. So when an accused appears at magistrate court on an indictable offense it must be only to be arraigned and because it’s an indictable offense they do not enter a plea. Bail is denied at that level but the accused can apply for bail at the Supreme Court. Now at Supreme Court the attorney enters a bail application which is heard only on Fridays. If the practice is deviated from, observers believe that conclusions may be inferred as to how the authorities in Belize are handling this case.
In the Hartin-Ashcroft case, the DPP decided on manslaughter by negligence and this almost never carries a custodial sentence, and if any, usually for time served on remand if no bail is granted. Manslaughter by negligence even if there is a conviction usually ends with a fine and a financial restitution package for the victim’s family. The fine is usually more attractive if the accused takes a guilty plea and saves the court time. This legal strategy appears to be the one deployed by Hartin’s legal team.
Jasmine Hartin: From The Marriott Alaia To The ‘Hattieville Ramada’
One week ago Jasmine Hartin was a leading San Pedro socialite, the elite of the island’s uber-rich expatriates and the “Director of Lifestyle and Experience” at the town’s most posh and pricey hotel, the Alaia. Tonight, she is spending her fourth night in a San Pedro cellblock, awaiting transfer to the Hattieville Prison, known to locals as the ‘Hattieville Ramada’, a pun that only those with a British sense of humour may get. She was ordered to be remanded after the San Pedro Magistrate agreed to the police prosecutor’s objection to bail because she is a flight risk. It is not unusual that bail is denied for the charge of manslaughter by negligence for suspects with foreign passports and access to private jets and yachts, but still it must have come as a shock for the partner of Lord Ashcroft’s son, Andrew.
Jasmine Hartin arrives on the mainland
The vessel transporting Jasmine Hartin from San Pedro docked at the pier almost opposite Golden Bay in Belize City just after 3:30 p.m. Tuesday 1 June. From there she was placed in the prison van and transported to the Belize Central Prison. At 4:11 p.m. the Commissioner of Police reported: “Jasmine has been Safely delivered at her Majesty’s prison.”
This a breaking news story and will be continuously updated by our reporters on the ground in Belize.