Four years after Christopher Rouse died on the steps of a mobile police station in Glen while making a report that he had been stabbed in the neck, his named killer has been sentenced to eight years jailtime.
Benjamin Jackson, 53 years old, has been in prison since being arrested in 2015 for the November 1 killing. Therefore, from his sentence of eight years, given to him last Thursday, Jackson must spend a remaining three years, 10 months and 21 days shackled.
The Glen resident was originally charged with murder, but in the middle of his trial, the prosecution decided to accept a guilty plea of manslaughter.
Throughout this time Jackson was represented by defense attorney Jomo Thomas, who mitigated for his client before Justice Brian Cottle on December 12.
“The trouble came up to his doorsteps…and that trouble came between three and four o’clock in the morning,” Thomas told the Justice .
Rouse is said to have come to Jackson’s home in the wee hours of the morning.
The defense’s side of the story is that Rouse had already left Jackson’s business place/home earlier but still returned later.
“That trouble came when he was accosted by the deceased man, the deceased man tried to choke him, reached, took a scissors, stabbed him,” Thomas continued.
The lawyer highlighted that the deceased had a history of harassing his client.
The evidence, according to the lawyer, is that Rouse, 28 years old, was “at least” six inches taller than Jackson, who was 47 years old at the time.
Thomas felt that from the evidence his client, “Clearly did not want to kill this man.”
The defense submitted that following cases with similar fact patterns, a prison sentence of either five or six years should be imposed.
Justice Cottle also reviewed the facts before sentencing Jackson. For the most part, the facts the defense lawyer outlined were reiterated by Cottle.
It is said that there was an argument between the two at Jackson’s home in the early hours of the morning. Rouse made an attempt to choke Jackson, and then the older man took up a pair of scissors and stabbed Rouse in his neck.
Rouse left the scene, wounded, and knocked on the door of a nearby mobile police station. He told the officer there who it was that had stabbed him, before collapsing and dying in short succession on the stairs of the station.
The court considered that the offender had good character before the incident, with no recent previous convictions and that he was “not likely to reoffend.”
The single aggravating factor found by the court was that he had used a weapon to inflict a fatal injury to the victim.
“Mitigating of the offence was the fact that it was only a single blow that was struck, the weapon was a pair of scissors which the prisoner had at hand in his shop,” the Justice began.
He continued, that there was no premeditation, agreed that there was significant provocation and that there was a history of harassment of Jackson by the deceased.
Jackson was also considered remorseful, and his guilty plea was counted for all of its worth.
His lawyer had argued that the full one third discount should be given to his client for pleading guilty at the first opportunity. This was because they had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP) on April 30 this year, to indicate they would plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter. However, this was initially rejected, and not acted upon until the trial was already progressing.
The court agreed with the defense attorney, that the full discount of one third should be applied.
Therefore, in the circumstances, the sentence, which started at 15 years incarceration, travelled consistently downwards to rest at eight years.
After the sentence was given, a woman walked outside the courtroom and lay on the ground outside with her head buried in her arms, seemingly distraught at the sentence.