My family and I can only describe the years of torment we have suffered after the 2002 trial by jury that acquitted Mario Celaire of my daughters’ murder.
For me, a mother, the trial was a form of mental cruelty. My family, friends, and I had to endure hearing the assassination of my daughter’s character. I can still hear the defence team and those who were selected to give evidence make every attempt to discredit my daughter, the victim of this horrible crime.
During the 2002 trial, Mario Celaire showed no remorse. He portrayed himself as a non-violent person and denied any violent behaviour towards my daughter. The recent trial, however, established Mario Celaire’s established patterns of violence.
It is unfortunate that Kara Hoyte had to become his third victim for him to be stopped.
Mario’s sentencing has been adjourned to 3 July 2009. We can only hope now, that Mario will receive a just sentence that will keep him off the streets, a sentence that will help allow some form of closure for my family.
From the depth of our immeasurable grief, my family and some close friends created the Cassandra Learning Centre (CLC) in memory of Cassandra. It is the goal of CLC to raise the awareness of domestic violence in our communities and to educate young people in identifying what constitute domestic abusive relationships. CLC hopes that through its efforts other young people might be spared the ill fate that is inevitable in domestic violence relationships.
On the 3rd July 2009, Mario was received 2 life sentences. He will serve 8 years for the murder of Cassandra and 23 years for the attempted murder of Kara. He will serve a minimum of 23 years before being considered for parole.
Our campaign still continues as life must mean life in this case.
My family and I wish to extend our heart heart-felt gratitude to Kara for her bravery and determination for justice that made it possible for the case to be re-opened.
Monumental thanks to the law enforcement officers and the judicial system for their vigilance and support for justice, and to the community as a whole for supporting my family through well wishes and prayers.
My personal thanks to my family for their love and for remaining cohesive, strong, and persevering. To Cassandra’s friends, I thank you for the loyalty and support you have shown to my family through the initial trial, through the convening years, and finally, to the end.