Cumberbatch gets eight years for Sutherland’s death
From the Courts
August 5, 2011
Cumberbatch gets eight years for Sutherland’s death

Shanette Cumberbatch will spend the next eight years of her life in prison for causing the death of Rakeesh Sutherland.{{more}}

Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle handed down the sentence on Thursday, July 28, at the High Court’s Criminal Assizes.

Cumberbatch, who had been initially charged with Sutherland’s murder, pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter on June 28, 2011.

Sutherland, 27, a mechanic of Queens Drive, died on October 13, 2008, after succumbing to head injuries. He was struck with a piece of wood to the back of his head.

A post mortem report revealed that Sutherland died as a result of blunt trauma.

A social welfare report prepared and read by case worker in the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Denise Harold, noted that Cumberbatch was extremely remorseful for her actions and stated that she never meant for the incident to happen.

Harold also said that for the time that Cumberbatch has been incarcerated, she has done a lot to help other inmates by imparting some of her knowledge of the computer to others.

She also noted that Cumberbatch was a good prospect for rehabilitation.

Mitigating on Cumberbatch’s behalf, Attorney Kay Bacchus-Browne told the court that Cumberbatch had serious responsibilities at a young age, including a child, which Bacchus-Browne said may have led to Postpartum Depression. “She has been deprived of mothering her son,” Bacchus-Browne noted.

“Justice will be served by giving her a short sentence so she can get back into the life of her son,” Bacchus-Browne added.

The attorney noted that there is no need to send her to prison for rehabilitation because it would not do anything for her.

Just before handing down sentence, Justice Bruce-Lyle said a certain element of pre-meditation existed when Cumberbatch went for the piece of wood with which she struck Rakeesh.

The judge said that too many persons resort to violence to resolve conflicts.

“She must be punished for taking a life,” Bruce-Lyle said.

However, Bruce-Lyle did not support Bacchus-Browne’s submission that Cumberbatch was suffering from Postpartum Depression, since there was no medical evidence to support it.

He said the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors and it was clear that she is a good prospect for rehabilitation.

“This is a sad and unfortunate case. Rakeesh lost his life,’ Bruce-Lyle said.(KW)