Now some good news: four people have been convicted in last April’s hate crime against CBS News employees, Ryan Smith and Dick Jefferson (pictured after the attacks). The men were leaving a bar while on vacation in St. Maarten’s when they got into an altercation with four French nationals.
The nationals were incensed over the duo and their friend’s apparent homo ways and took it out with the help of a tire iron. The force of their blows left Jefferson’s skull cracked and gave Smith temporary brain damage.
CBS coincidentally reports:
Three citizens of the island’s French half – Glen Cockly, Micheline Delaney and Allan Daniel – and a man from the nearby French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Michel Javois, were found guilty of public violence and grievous bodily harm by Judge Jan Bosch.
Bosch determined that Javois, nicknamed “Duracell,” was the one who assailed Smith and Jefferson – who are employees of CBS News in New York – with a tire iron as they left a bar with friends on April 6 while vacationing in St. Maarten.
When the story first broke, many debated whether or not Smith and Jefferson should have actively shrouded their homosexuality, as they were in a region known for its anti-homo vibe.
Smith notes: “It was because we were gay. Period. There is no question.”
Of the verdict, Jefferson said: “Personally, I’m happy they reached a guilty verdict. Emotionally, it raises a lot more questions than it answers.” Still, he’s not entirely convinced people will get the message:
The people of St. Maarten should also ask whether the sentence sends the clear message that if you wrongly attack visitors, the punishment for endangering the island’s lifeblood will be steep. Also, does today’s sentence soothe the anxiety of visitors who now worry if they will be treated fairly should they become a victim of a crime?
Sadly, we’re sure the verdicts won’t mean the end of homophobia on the island. Still, it certainly can’t hurt.