The family of Jourdain John Baptiste, a 22 year old who fell to her death in August 2015 from her seventh floor flat in Enfield following a heated argument with her boyfriend, during which she was heard screaming for help, have slammed the CPS as cowardly, following their failed judicial review challenge.
The Divisional Court have today handed down judgment in R (Tracey John Baptiste) v the Director of Public Prosecutions finding that the CPS decision not to bring a prosecution of S for manslaughter of Jourdain John Baptiste, was not irrational.
The Court in summarising some of the key facts emerging from the police investigation set out how neighbours overheard a row, …in which [Jourdain] was heard by one to say “no” a few minutes before her fall and by two others “someone help me please”. The evidence reviewed suggested a background of domestic violence and an abusive relationship.
S gave various contradictory accounts of what had occurred in three separate interviews with the police. Following a thorough police investigation, recommendations were made that S should be charged with manslaughter.
Despite this, the CPS initially decided that there was insufficient evidence to support a prosecution for murder or manslaughter. That opinion was confirmed by a second barrister. However, following a detailed reconsideration of all the evidence and an independent QC opinion provided in response to the family’s Victim’s Right of Review, advice was given in favour of charging for manslaughter. That independent decision was overturned by the CPS area manager who said that the initial two opinions given could not be said to be wrong.
Tracey John Baptiste, mother of Jourdain, stated, “The police, an independent prosecutor and CPS solicitor and my own legal team who examined the facts all believe there is enough evidence to support a prosecution, even those against prosecuting in the CPS recognise this is a finely balanced decision. Why not put this to the jury who can hear all the witnesses and decide? We have lost my beautiful daughter and now we have lost the chance to get justice. How can the CPS put so much resources into fighting this case instead of allowing the evidence to go before the court?”
Harriet Wistrich, Director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, which brought the judicial review challenge, stated, “Every three days in the UK, a woman will die at the hands of a violent male partner or ex-partner. The CPS violence against women and girls strategy states that they are determined to secure justice for all victims of domestic abuse. Why then will they not prosecute in this case? “
The family are determined to continue their fight for justice and appeal to the public for any new leads that might help support a private prosecution.