From the Courts
July 31, 2020
Man gets three part sentence for striking stranger with a stone

FOR HITTING AN 18-yearold stranger in his head with a stone three years ago, a 26-year-old received a suspended jail sentence, must pay $10,000 in compensation and attend counselling.

Rashaun Stephens was sentenced by Justice Brian Cottle at the High Court on Tuesday, July 28.

The legally unrepresented Stephens was afforded a full trial on the charge of wounding with intent but was convicted by a jury on July 2.

The case as provided by the prosecution, led by crown counsel John Ballah, states that the then 18-year-old Gilanzo Williams and Stephens did not know one another at the time, and saw each other for the first time on the night of the wounding.

Just before the incident, Williams and his girlfriend were walking away from a function in Rose Hall in the wee hours of May 28, 2017. Stephens was walking away from the same function and happened upon the couple. As he walked behind them Stephens threw taunts at the teen, who showed no reaction to this.

It is said that Stephens, 23 at the time, became annoyed at this indifference and threw a stone, which struck the 18-yearold’s heel. This elicited a response from Williams, and although his girlfriend tried to stop him, he ended up confronting Stephens. During the dispute, Stephens managed to strike a blow to Williams’ head, using a stone.

Injured, Williams ran away while Stephens threw another stone at him. He was later taken to the clinic and subsequently the hospital for treatment.

Stephens, who was unrepresented and has acted as a crown witness in another case, apparently told Justice Cottle that he was attacked while being kept at the prison.

In considering an appropriate sentence for the injury, caused by a single blow and not inflicted by a bladed weapon or firearm, the judge concluded that compensation would be appropriate.

The stipulated sum of $10,000 must be paid within six months or Stephens will spend one year in prison.

Further Stephens was given a three-year prison sentence, which was suspended. Therefore, this sentence will only take effect if, within the next three years, he commits another offence which is punishable by more than six months incarceration.

A social inquiry report was put together prior to the sentencing so that the judge would be cognizant of relevant information concerning Stephens. The officer who prepared this report opined that Stephens would benefit “greatly from counselling in a structured rehabilitative counselling program,” the judge noted.

Cottle ordered that Stephens complete a program of counselling at the Marion House.

“Preparations would be made for that Mr Stephens and if you fail to attend and complete the counselling program at the Marion House, you will serve a term of imprisonment for one year in default of that,” the Justice told him.

Therefore, Stephens was able to leave the court a free man conditional on his obedience to these orders.