Young women plead guilty to manslaughter,  sentenced to jail
front to back – Twanecia Ollivierre, Alana Hudson and Taylor Mofford are being escorted from the High Court in Kingstown by two police officers.
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April 14, 2022
Young women plead guilty to manslaughter, sentenced to jail

The young woman who wielded the knife that dealt four stabs which led to the death of another young woman in 2017 has this week apologised to the state and the family of the deceased for her acts of violence. 

Lawyer, Patina Knights who recently took over the representation of Twanecia Ollivierre from counsel, Michael Wyllie said during oral sentencing submissions on April 13, that her client had relayed certain things to her. 

“…From my instructions in speaking with her, she wished me to reiterate to the court and speak these words on her behalf,” Knights told Justice, Brian Cottle at the High Court where Ollivierre, Alana Hudson and Taylor Mofford were this week sentenced to prison for manslaughter. 

“She states that she wished to apologise to the state for her act of violence. She also would like to apologise to the family of the deceased and she prays that one day they would be able to forgive her for the loss that they suffered,” Knights informed the Court. 

Ollivierre says she is extremely remorseful and “she says that not a day goes by that she does not think of this incident and regret what transpired.”
The deceased, 23-year-old Simona DaSilva, succumbed to stab wounds on September 4, 2017.

The facts, as laid out by the Judge are that Hudson, Ollivierre and Mofford were members of a group that called themselves “The Outlaws”. The outlaws were at a club in Fairhall on the date in question when an altercation broke out between them, the deceased and the deceased’s family members. 

“The deceased and her relatives then left the club for home. The prisoners and others followed, and in the yard of the deceased hostilities resumed,” Cottle revised. 

Ollivierre has argued that it is the sister of the deceased who introduced a knife into the fray but she got a hold of it. “…And went much too far in her response to the circumstances she faced,” Cottle observed. 

It was revealed that there may have also been an element of revenge present as Ollivierre had apparently been stabbed several months before by the deceased who used a broken bottle to inflict the wound.

A post mortem examination on Da Silva revealed four stab wounds. One of these was to the upper anterior chest. The wound “penetrated the root of the aorta through the second intercostal space. The sac surrounding the heart was distended and contained 300ml of blood,” Cottle said.

There was also a wound to the back. 

The indictment initially laid by the prosecution was one of murder, but the crown, represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Tammika DaSilva-McKenzie, accepted their plea of guilt to manslaughter upon discussions with the defense. 

Last Friday, April 8, the Court heard oral sentencing submissions by counsel, Duane Daniel for Mofford and counsel, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste for Hudson. 
Among his points, Daniel put some emphasis on the youth of the accused. 

Mofford was 18 at the time of the offence, Ollivierre was 19 and Hudson was 20.

“My lord we are only too well aware that the exuberance of youth where the mind and a full appreciation of actions and consequences have not yet properly coalesced into what is supposed to be our better adult selves guided by the wisdom that only years of experience could bring,” Daniel expressed.  
The following week, Knights mitigated for Ollivierre before sentencing.

Retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation are aims that the court has to keep in the forefront when considering the sentence.

Cottle began by reiterating these for the benefit of the young women and then turned to the sentencing guidelines of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC). These guidelines are expected to be followed unless to do so would be to depart from justice. Cottle saw no reason to depart from them in this case and said he would follow them closely. 

“When sentencing an offender for manslaughter by reason of an unlawful act, a court is first called upon to consider that the unlawful act has had the most serious of consequences – a human life has been lost,” the Justice noted. 

The court then has to determine the level of culpability and seriousness of the offence. The judge felt that this matter fell under medium seriousness.
“Counsel for the prosecution and counsel for the defence agree with this position and that is because the death was caused in the course of an unlawful act with which there was defence of self which did not amount to a defence. The force used was excessive and went far beyond what was needed…”

The court adopted a starting point of 12 years incarceration from a range of between six and 16 years. 

Then the aggravating features are considered, and in this case these were that a bladed weapon was used in a group attack. The Judge found no mitigating features of the offence. 

However, Cottle also has to consider the young women individually and what characteristics serve to mitigate and aggravate as it concerns them.

“The first prisoner – Taylor Mofford, was a young woman at the time of the offence, she was then some 18 years old. She had no previous convictions. I am told that she is seen as a good candidate for rehabilitation. The facts revealed that in the killing she played a lesser role in the sense that she was not the wielder of the fatal knife” and she showed remorse. 

It was a similar case for Hudson who also “was a young woman at the time of the offence, she was 20 years old. She too has no previous convictions.

Similarly, she is viewed as a good candidate for rehabilitation. She too did not wield the knife and she too was perceived as playing a lesser role in the killing. She has also pleaded guilty, thereby demonstrating a genuine remorse.”

“The third prisoner Twanecia Ollivierre was also a very young woman at the time of the offence, she was barely 19 years old. She had no previous convictions, and is viewed as a good candidate for rehabilitation. She too has shown a genuine remorse,” Cottle reviewed. He noted the apology that was conveyed on her behalf and the submissions of the defence counsel that the knife was said to have been introduced by the sister to the deceased. 

For Hudson and Mofford the court felt that the mitigating features outweighed the aggravating and reduced the sentence from 12 years to 10 years. 

However, there is the additional element for Ollivierre that she inflicted the fatal stabs. 

“I feel that I must move the starting point upwards to reflect my view that in her case the aggravating features outweigh the mitigating features as I think that she played a leading role causing the death of the deceased,” the Judge said, and moved her sentence up by one year to 13 years. 

A guilty plea usually affords the individual a one third discount, but in this case the court could not agree that the plea was done at the earliest opportunity. It therefore applied a 25% discount instead. 

This left Hudson and Mofford with a sentence of seven years, and six months and Ollivierre with an incarceration time of nine years and nine months.

They have already been confined for four years, seven months and seven days as bail was not open to them. This is subtracted from the sentence.