Judge bans family, friends from wearing T-shirts for accident victim Alyssa Davis
Family and friends wearing yellow T-shirts with picture of victim
Some family and friends of a girl killed in an alleged street racing accident were forced to leave a St. John's courtroom Tuesday.
They were wearing T-shirts in the memory of Alyssa Davis, 17, who was killed on the Conception Bay South bypass on Dec. 23, 2015.
The shirts have a picture of Davis on the front along with the phrase 'Sprinkling Sunshine Everywhere.' On the back, the shirts say 'Sunshine Squad,' a group started by Davis's mother, Sherree Davis, that does good deeds in Davis' memory.
But when Judge David Orr entered the courtroom and saw the shirts, he instructed a sheriff's officer to do something about them.
A mother's concerns
Some members of the group tried turning the shirts inside out, but that didn't satisfy Orr. He either wanted them covered up or removed, meaning that some of group had to leave the courtroom.
The ruling upset Sherree Davis.
"I don't think there was anything inappropriate about the T-shirts that these people have worn. It's about a support group," said Davis.
"We've worn them ever since we've come here. We are here to represent Alyssa. [This is] discriminatory, I think."
Davis also felt a sense of injustice about how the system is working. She believed the accused should have to be in court for all proceedings.
The girl, 17, accused of killing Alyssa Davis by street racing, has been absent for most of the court appearances.
"They should have to be here. The accused should be here, face their peers, face the criminal system. People aren't going to take this seriously if they don't have to be here. We're here and we are going to be here until the end," said Davis.
In law, a lawyer can get what's know as "designation" which allows the lawyer to appear on the client's behalf.
Similar case, same week
Monday in Harbour Grace, the family and friends of Hannah Thorne, 18, also brought pictures of her to court and prominently displayed them outside.
Brian King, 30, and Steven Mercer, 29 are charged with street racing causing Thorne's death during an accident on the New Harbour Barrens on July 7.
The two men were in court on Monday, and a bail hearing was set for Tuesday.
Thorne's family and friends were told they couldn't bring the pictures into the courtroom. Even so, Thorne's mother, Gail Thorne, held up a smaller picture of her daughter inside the courtroom for King and Mercer to see.
CBC has been told that King was driving the truck that slammed into the car carrying Thorne.
The Davis case is due back in court Sept. 13.