Man ordered to pay $10,000 to victim
Swayed by the request of a cutlass chop victim for compensation, the High Court suspended a jail sentence of eight years on the condition that the perpetrator pays $10,000 to his victim.
Last Thursday, Orswell Andrews, who had pleaded guilty to the offence of wounding with intent one Seon Mack of Chester Village, indicated to Justice Brian Cottle that he wanted to compensate his victim.
Andrews was only 26 years old on Valentine’s Day in 2014, when he wielded his cutlass at Mack, as was recorded in the facts of the incident presented to the court by crown counsel Renée Simmons.
Mack was in the process of playing cards with three others at one Erastus Joseph’s liquor and provision shop in Chester Cottage.
The time was around 12:30 p.m. when Mack felt someone hit him on his back. Turning around, Mack saw Andrews holding a short cutlass. Without a word Andrews struck out with said cutlass, and Mack, in raising his hand to shield himself from the weapon, was chopped.
Mack, 33 years old at the time, then left the liquor and provision shop in order to seek medical attention for his bleeding limb.
After being taken to the Georgetown hospital, the wounded man was then transferred to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), where he had surgery on his hand. He remained at the MCMH for a further five days. Subsequently, the Chester Village man had to go under the knife yet again in relation to his injury.
In the beginning, Andrews had claimed innocence, but he changed his mind after hearing the evidence of the first witness for the prosecution, namely the victim himself; and instead he decided to plead that he was guilty.
Andrew’s prospects of rehabilitation, in the general scheme of things was also questionable considering he had acquired a significant criminal record over his years. This record, formed at the magisterial level, included crimes such as wounding, assault, and using threatening language.
Justice Cottle noted that he was of the opinion that “conduct like this” will almost always merit a jail sentence. However, he added, “In this case, I am taking into account the view expressed by the complainant that the court should also consider a compensation award, and I have allowed myself to be swayed by this appeal.” He also noted that the prisoner had put forward a willingness to pay compensation.
The Justice had adopted a notional prison term of 10 years, and then applied the expected discount for Andrew’s guilty plea. Andrews had not accepted his guilt at the earliest opportunity, and therefore the court, using its discretion, decided not to apply the 30 per cent discount, but rather a 20 per cent reduction. The final sentence arrived at was eight years in prison.
Having said this, Cottle continued that this sentence would be suspended on the condition that the prisoner pays Mack $10,000 as compensation, within the next six months.
Unless Andrews pays this sum in full by the end of the six month period, he will have to serve eight years in jail.