Chief magistrate gives guilty man a stern warning
A 37-YEAR-old farmer who attacked a 60-year-old man because of “frustration” concerning a female, has been ordered to compensate his victim, and keep himself out of trouble for the next six months, on pain of imprisonment.
The farmer of Green Hill, Rosallo Andrews, was not known to the court before last Thursday, October 7, where he was answering to a charge of the unlawful and malicious wounding of Irvin Baptiste of Old Montrose.
According to investigations conducted by PC 277 Findlay, the incident in question occurred on September 20, in Green Hill. The two men had never spoken to each other before it happened.
At about 7a.m on the date in question, Baptiste was walking to Kingstown, having just left his girlfriend’s house. Upon reaching the vicinity of Esther’s shop, he received a surprise blow to the back of his head, stumbled, and fell to the ground.
While the 60-year-old believes that a cutlass was used to strike him, the defendant said he used a rusty, elongated, flat piece of metal.
The assailant landed two more blows, one to the right shoulder and the other to the left middle finger, before fleeing the scene.
The older man was treated at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, and reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department(CID).
On October 6, Andrews was interviewed at the police station, and admitted that he had done the act.
At the Serious Offences Court(SOC) last Thursday, Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, asked the first-time offender who had no legal representation, if he had anything to say as it concerns sentencing.
“Fortunately for you it could have been worse. They are not very severe injuries,” the Chief Magistrate commented as she read the medical report form from the doctor, “… but the fact that he was injured cannot be overlooked; and a cutlass was used,” she pointed out.
“My honour it transpired through the same young lady…” who the older man was visiting, the defendant claimed. He said that since February 17, 2020 to sometime in September, the two of them were in a relationship.
The defendant said he acted the way he did because he observed that Baptiste slept in the house that night.
The magistrate advised him that he should have had a conversation with the woman, and not attacked Baptiste.
“…You should have asked her what’s going on, not attack the man,” she advised.
The defendant maintained that he had acted the way he did because he was frustrated.
Baptiste was also present in the courtroom. He conveyed that he was feeling better, and it appeared that he did not have any visible wounds.
He disclosed that the relationship has been working out for him.
Crown counsel Rose-Ann Richardson, prosecuting, was invited to make submissions on sentencing.
She referenced the draft sentencing guidelines for offences of violence.
The counsel reasoned that, using these guidelines, Andrews’ actions would fall in the lessor categories associated with the seriousness and consequences of the offence. She noted that by the oral evidence of the wounded man, as well as the report of injury form, “there was harm done, lesser harm, but no long-term impact.”
The guidelines would suggest a starting percentage of the maximum penalty available, “…However I wish to submit that this may not be a case that is most appropriate for imprisonment, and the criminal code allows for a magistrate to impose compensation for a convicted person.”
Further, “He should be given a term of imprisonment, according to the guidelines, but section 30 of the criminal code allows for the magistrate to suspend any term” and order compensation in lieu, she said.
The prosecution noted as well that, “The accused person has no previous convictions which goes to his favour, he was co-operative, and we heard there was some sort of provocation in the colloquial sense…” The Chief Magistrate told Andrews: “I do agree with the prosecutor that a term of imprisonment…would not necessarily be the most suitable sentence in this regard…
“However, it is a serious offence, it could have gone much worse so what I would sentence you to is a suspended sentence for a period of time as well as compensation.”
The judicial officer added that there was no need for him to have injured the “unsuspecting” victim.
A sentence of six months in prison was handed down, suspended for six months. If Andrews commits an offence punishable by a certain period of imprisonment within six months of this sentence, then he must serve the sentence handed down on October 7, 2021, in addition to whatever sentence is imposed for any other offence.
Andrews was also ordered to pay $400 by October 22, in default of which he will be sent behind bars for one month.
Browne advised the defendant not to get into these circumstances again, and to walk away.