Care workers not guilty of killing teenage boy

| 13/02/2020 | 10 Comments
Cayman News Service
Risco Batten

(CNS): In an emotional moment in Grand Court on Thursday, Micheal Stewart (65) and Larry Levers (47) were acquitted of the manslaughter of 14-year-old Risco Batten, who drowned while on a fishing trip in 2015 while the men were carers at the Bonaventure Boys Home. It took a jury less than three hours to clear both men and the crown also dropped a related neglect and child cruelty allegation against them. The judge said it was a “deeply sad case” and he was not going to comment on the evidence.

But it was increasingly apparent from the beginning of the trial and the crown’s own witnesses that the prosecution against the men was deeply flawed.

Check back to CNS Monday for a full review of the case, the claims made by witnesses and what appeared to be a concerted effort by the CAYS Foundation, which runs the home, to blame these men for a tragedy that may have been avoided with better policy procedures.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is so heartbreaking.

  2. Dr. Deb says:

    At least let this be a wake-up call to ensure these boys are never taken near the water again for any purpose unless a qualfied and certified strong swimmer is in charge of the boys! Policies and procedures regarding field trips must be reviewed, updated and followed! Don’t let this boy’s death be for nothing, if new policies can avoid this type of tragedy in the future. This incident was very sad for everyone involved.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Bonaventure home is responsable for the boy death negligentes on all ends due to them and poor management..

  4. Anonymous says:

    If Risco wasn’t in Bonaventure then this wouldn’t have happened.

    • Anon says:

      Well why aren’t the foreign parents, who abandon their kids leaving them on the mercy of C.I. Govt, not prosecuted when they return to Cayman? Govt didn’t give birth to them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    They’re guilty of being complete idiots and should never be allowed to be responsible for children again.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is really sad for Risco (& him alone) because at the end of the day – facts are facts – the adults who were supposed to be their care givers while off the compound took those children out to an unsafe spot to swim, with strong current warning signs posted there to see and knowing full well that they could not swim themselves. So could the adults not read either? Sorry but that is highly negligent on them and although perhaps taking them there was unintentional – it is still their fault at the end of the day.

    Heaven forbid if this been my child I am sure this same judge and jury would be happy to quickly convict me of a crime when I take up some form of street justice for my child’s life being brushed aside so carelessly. This judicial system is a joke so please stop acting surprised when victims choose to retaliate vs. call the police! AND – one of these “adults” knew he was guilty otherwise why would he change his name, and flee?

    Anyhow – I am sure that their consciences will chase them wherever they go in life, and pray that no one else’s child is placed in such negligent care ever again. I hope that the boys’ home has ramped up their staff’s training to include swimming lessions, CPR & First Aid too.

    RIP Risco, your life was carelessly snuffed out too soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      You haven’t been following the case. The strong current warning signs were NOT there at the time the boys went out. They were put up afterwards.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Without any kind of Health and Safety legislation on these islands this verdict was the only possible outcome. You can’t penalise people for not doing something there’s no specific legal requirement for them to do. In the UK this would have come under HASWA, which would have required the home to ensure proper safeguards, including risk assessments, where in place and required properly qualified supervision. Hopefully, lessons have been learned but it’s an expensive way to learn them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A tragedy indeed. It almost felt as if this was a deliberate attempt to demonstrate that we would hold someone accountable for the child’s death.

    No one could reasonably believe they meant the child any harm and acted in a way that directly caused him harm.

    I am sure if they weren’t Afro-Caribbean men of limited educational background this case would have never seen the inside of a court.

    It almost borders on malicious prosecution save for the fact a precious life was lost- accidentally.

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