Bequia man who left his victim paralysed jailed for 22 years
From the Courts, News
June 13, 2023
Bequia man who left his victim paralysed jailed for 22 years

A 27YEAR OLD man of Bequia who in a robbery attempt has left his victim paralysed will spend the next 22 years in prison.

Before handing down the sentence at High Court #1 on June 9, justice Brian Cottle, asked Shammai Hazell if he had anything to say before his sentencing. The Bequia resident apologized to the court and the victim, saying that he was “genuinely sorry”.

He said that he was “extremely remorseful” for his actions and asked for leniency.

“What I did was wrong … it was a huge mistake, “ Hazell said, adding that he keeps his victim in his prayers.

Hazell had already spent one year, 10 months and seven days on remand for the offences of wounding with intent and robbery, each of which carries maximum penalties of life imprisonment.

Time spent was, however, deducted from his 25 year sentence.

Furthermore, his profuse remorse expressed in court after he issued his apology resulted in his sentence being further reduced to 22 years.

Hazell was found guilty of the offences of wounding with intent and robbery on May 5, after a full trial.

According to the judge’s summary of the facts, on November 23, 2019, Judson Jacobs then 26, was on the island of Canouan where he worked. Around 11:00 a.m he was on his way to the fisheries complex to purchase fish for export. He had with him a bag containing $10,000.00 in cash, and a digital scale to weigh his purchases. As Jacobs was walking, he turned around and saw a masked man approaching with a gun pointed at him.The areas surrounding the assailant’s eyes were exposed which made it possible for the victim to recognize a tear drop tattoo under the left eye resulting in him being able to identify Hazell. The prisoner demanded Jacobs’ bag but Jacobs ran and Hazell chased. However, Jacobs fell and the prisoner took his bag and ran. Residents went to Jacobs’ assistance and he was transported to the Canouan Clinic, and later to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.When the matter was reported to the police, Hazell was arrested on the same day and a search was conducted at his home. However, neither the money nor the gun was recovered.

In handing down the sentence justice Cottle told the court that Hazell has had two previous convictions for theft, and one for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He also said that the victim is now paralysed from the chest down and the incident has left him unable to work and earn a living.

Jacobs also cannot fully participate in the upbringing of his daughter and he was unable to attend her graduation. The victim is now depressed due to his present condition.

In keeping with the sentencing guidelines, the judge found that both the consequences and seriousness of the robbery fell into the highest category. He said that as a consequence of the offence, there was severe physical and phycological harm caused to the victim. He also said that a substantial sum was stolen from a business and was never recovered. As to the seriousness, Cottle said a firearm was used in the robbery which was carried in broad daylight. He further said that there was a serious risk of harm as a substantial amount of violence was meted out to the victim, and the gun was discharged at least twice. The judge started at 22 years and six months imprisonment.

When he looked at the aggravating factors of the offence, he said that the robbery was carried out in public and in broad daylight. He also said that there were attempts to conceal identity by wearing a mask. Aggravating of Hazell as the offender was that he had previous convictions relating to theft and violence. There were no mitigating factors of the offence, nor of him as offender. Therefore, justice Cottle adjusted the sentence upwards by two years and six months to arrive at 25 years.

On the wounding charge, the offence fell into the highest category and the judge started at 22 years and six months imprisonment. There were also no mitigating factors of this offence and Cottle moved upwards to 25 years. However, after time spent on remand was deducted, and a further discount was given for the apology, Hazell will spend 22 years in prison as both sentences will run concurrently.