Francis was on trial for overstaying in the territory. He was also charged with eight counts of criminal damage and one count of criminal trespassing to which he pleaded guilty.
According to Police Constable Severn Simmons, the prosecution’s witness attached to the East End Police station, he received a report of a domestic violence situation on Sunday, May 2.
Officer Simmons told the court that based on the evidence provided, a search warrant was issued for Francis but he was not found at his given address. However, Francis turned up at the East End Police station and was arrested on suspicion of assault causing bodily harm and criminal damage to his then-girlfriend’s property.
The policeman revealed that further checks showed Francis’s work permit had expired on July 14, 2018. And there was no evidence of an extension being granted to him, the court heard.
This evidence was corroborated by the prosecution’s second witness, Immigration Officer Stephen Gilbert. Throughout the trial, Francis was adamant that his situation was unique as his girlfriend had a meeting with her boss, who is Chief of Immigration Ian Penn, regarding his dilemma.
“The Chief told me to get a new employer and they’d stamp my passport. My passport was expired but the Chief would stamp it once I get a new one,” Francis told the court.
However, Gilbert said under normal circumstances, a work permit approval would not be communicated verbally but in a written format. Also, extensions would be done by the Immigration Processing Unit.
Francis’ girlfriend who worked in the Administrative Office at the Immigration Department also appeared to give evidence. She told the court she tried to help Francis with his work permit status by speaking to Penn after she found out his documents were not ‘straight’ in the summer of last year.
However, she said her boss mentioned that Francis had to leave the territory immediately and not get in any trouble with the law. Afterwards, he (Francis) could seek employment and write a letter requesting permission to re-enter the territory.
She added that at no point from the time she found out about his documents up til his arrest did she process an application for a work permit renewal for him or indicated Francis had permission to stay in the country.
Francis maintained he was in the process of renewing his passport to get the work permit renewed. He told the court he had gotten his police certificate and only required a fingerprint scan to complete his passport renewal which would have enabled him to renew his work permit.
The St Lucian will have to wait in custody for another three weeks before he can know his fate.