Canadian man charged with causing St Lucia child’s death
CASTRIES, St. Lucia (AP) — A Canadian tourist has been charged with recklessly causing the death of a 4-year-old St. Lucian child who drowned off one of the Caribbean country’s beaches last month, officials said Tuesday.
The Royal St. Lucia Police Force identified the suspect as 33-year-old Sahab Jamshidi of Hamilton, Ontario. He has been charged with causing the boy’s death by negligence or recklessness on Feb. 22 off a beach in the southern town of Vieux Fort.
Police allege that local child Terrel Joshua Elibox was at the beach when he was given a kite surfing ride by Jamshidi. During the ride, Terrel allegedly fell into the sea and submerged. His body was recovered two days later.
Jamshidi made his first court appearance on Tuesday but was not required to enter a plea. He was granted bail but required to surrender his travel documents and ordered to report to a police station each week until his case is resolved.
His next hearing is next month. If convicted, he faces a life in prison in St. Lucia, a tourism-dependent island in the Eastern Caribbean.
On a Facebook page defending the suspect, a Canadian friend asserts Jamshidi was trying to help the child after he “saw a child bobbing in the water barely swimming.”
“He had tried to save him but ultimately the waves stripped the boy and his board away from him,” Hamilton resident Stephen Verbeek said on his Facebook page in support of his friend.
Few specifics were disclosed at a Tuesday press conference by police in St. Lucia. Deputy Police Commissioner Frances Henry only said “there are no special cases” and investigators will pursue the case vigorously.
Jamshidi was described as a physician in a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, but he is not listed as one in Ontario. The CBC says a man with the same name and age was awaiting medical residency in Canada after receiving medical training in the United States.
Associated Press writer David McFadden contributed from Kingston, Jamaica.