Suspects in death of Spanish crew member plead not guilty; trial in Seychelles set for January

Two persons charged in connection with the death of a crew member of a Spanish fishing vessel plead not guilty before the Seychelles' Supreme Court on Monday.

The prosecutor representing the office of Attorney General Khalyaan Karunakaran said that as requested by the court last time, all evidence has been compiled and presented to the court.

Karunakaran maintains that he feels very positive about the case as officials have strong and significant evidence.

The documents and evidence presented on Monday included CCTV footage and some photographs related to the incident.

The accused -- a 35-year-old man, Nigel Arrisol, and a 35-year-old woman, Florence Francois � were brought before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 18th for the first time after being discharged on bail.

Francois has been charged with involuntary manslaughter while Arrisol has been charged with accessory for assisting the suspect after the Spanish national died.

The body of 47-year-old Aitor Valtiera was found at Ile du Port, a man-made island near the Seychelles' Port Victoria, in early July. The police investigation showed that Valtiera died in the presence of the accused woman who had then sought the assistance of the man -- a driver -- to leave the body at Ile du Port.

The autopsy result has shown that the Spanish national died of a heart attack and water in the lungs, consistent with the use of illegal substances, the police had said.

Justice Melchior Vidot said that as the accused have pleaded not guilty, they will be tried in January.

The defence lawyer, Nicole Gabriel, told SNA that he has analysed the evidence and he still feels that his client can get out of trial as a free person.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

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