Pierre pleads guilty to manslaughter, gets two years
From the Courts
February 10, 2012
Pierre pleads guilty to manslaughter, gets two years

After his daughter complained to him that a man had fondled her, Noel Caswell Pierre did what any good father would do.{{more}}

He warned the man not to interfere with his daughter.

However, that warning turned into an argument and later saw Pierre being charged with murder.

Pierre, 41, was arrested back in 2010 for for April 1 murder of Franklyn “Spracket” Burgin, 52, of Arnos Vale.

Burgin died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital as a result of a chop wound he sustained to his head.

The deceased was also known to have a history of mental illness.

After serving 22 months on remand, Pierre pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and was on Tuesday, February 7, 2012, sentenced to two years imprisonment from the time of his arrest, assuring his release immediately.

When the sentence was handed down, Pierre exited the defendant’s dock, walked back to the waiting area, and waved to his wife and young son.

In a powerful plea of mitigation, Pierre’s counsel Duane Daniel said his client left home with his daughter with the sole intention of warning Burgin not to interfere with his family, especially his daughters.

At the time of the incident, Pierre, a resident of Walvaroo, had just returned home from his shift as a security guard at the Technical College, when his daughter told him that Spracket attempted to wet her down as she and her other sibling were going to purchase bread.

She also told him that Spracket had touched her on her breasts.

After being told what had transpired, Pierre took his daughter and went back to the shop where the girl claimed Spracket had fondled her. On their arrival, Pierre met the deceased cleaning a vehicle and asked him if he had interfered with his daughter.

Spracket began arguing and Pierre left where Spracket was and went to complain to the owner of the shop which Spracket frequented.

Moments later, Spracket came with a cutlass in his hand, but Pierre did not pay him any mind. Pierre asked his daughter in front of Spracket if he had touched her and she answered in the affirmative.

Spracket then raised the cutlass at Pierre’s daughter and said: “Girl, yuh too [expletive] lie.”

Pierre warned the deceased not to raise the cutlass at his daughter and Spracket replied: “What you want to do? What the [expletive] you want to do?”

A struggle then ensued between the men and there was a scramble for the cutlass. Pierre got to the weapon first and chopped the deceased.

Daniel, in his mitigation, said if the matter had gone to trial, the prosecution would have had an uphill struggle proving murder.

“There would have been a good chance he could have advanced self defense, given the fact that it was the deceased who had the weapon,” Daniel said.

Daniel said his client did not want to suffer his daughter having to give evidence at trial. “This was a great consideration of his, which puts in the balance, the interest of his child over the possibility of an exoneration and his own liberty,” Daniel added.

Justice Bruce-Lyle, before handing down sentence, told the court that every killing is not a murder.

“I venture as far to say that investigative powers such as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the police should have the courage to take a stand in these kinds of situations…,” Bruce-Lyle stated.

He said there are some charges that the DPP can indict for manslaughter instead of murder.

“The magistrates can also decide on this, too; They have the power.”

Bruce-Lyle said it pains when he looks at the circumstances of the matter.

“Every father in this room would have acted in the same manner Noel did, especially when your daughter come and tell you so and so has touched them on their breasts. How do you react?” the judge continued.

He said Pierre has been a model citizen, protective of his family and being the father he never had.

Bruce-Lyle said the real mitigating factors in the matter were that upon hearing the report from his daughter, he went to confront Spracket unarmed.

“If he went to fight, would he have gone with his daughter? The deceased is the one who had the cutlass. That’s the case in SVG; people want to be wrong and strong,” Bruce-Lyle added.

The resident judge said he believed the police statement given by Pierre’s daughter that Spracket was acting up and followed them with the cutlass.

“The deceased was the architect of his own demise.”

However, Bruce-Lyle told Pierre that he should have walked away after disarming the deceased.

“It’s a pity what he did was in the heat of the moment. It’s a pity someone died. I think he has been punished enough already,” Bruce-Lyle added.

He urged Pierre to put the matter behind him and get on with his life. “Next time, just walk away,” Bruce-Lyle advised.(KW)