Woodford Hill man gets suspended sentence but Judge orders compensation
Fifty-three-year old Bertrand Benjamin, a Woodford Hill man found guilty of unlawfully and maliciously wounding a fellow Woodford Hill man at the Morocco Hotel building site at the Cabrits, Portsmouth in 2016 has received a nine-month suspended sentence from trial judge Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts and has been ordered to pay compensation of $10,627 to the injured man.
Benjamin, the owner a tyre repair shop and sales outlet at Woodford Hill was found guilty of wounding Michael Telemacque by a jury of four men and five women on Tuesday December 15, 2020 after a five-day trial at the Roseau High Court.
State Attorney Daina Matthew of the Director of Public Prosecutions office called three witnesses to make the state's case. Counsel Dawn Yearwood-Stewart conducted the defence.
According the evidence of the case, the virtual complainant had left home in the north-east community for his work as a security officer at the Morocco Hotel at Portsmouth on Wednesday May 4, 2016 when differences with Benjamin escalated. Telemacque got to Portsmouth after 8:00am. Benjamin was on a pick-up which passed him in Portsmouth on Harbour Lane. Telemacque on his way walking to his workplace stopped at a shop in Lagoon to buy his breakfast of bread and sausage. He got to work near 9:00am. On approaching a second gate on the construction site some 50 feet from the main gate Telemacque saw Benjamin with a crowbar in his hand. He said "he was ready for me now." Telemacque walked past and said he was going to call the police before any problem. Telemacque went back to the security room and Benjamin followed him and went to the kitchen at the back. While making the call to the police Benjamin came out of the kitchen and passed him with the crowbar still in his hand.
Telemacque chose to eat his breakfast outside the kitchen to see when the police had arrived. He had a kitchen knife in his hand to cut his sausage and bread, he said.
About 15 minutes later Benjamin pushed back the gate and walked straight up to me with the crowbar in his hand. He said: 'Yes Mr Michael! Today! Today! I ready for you! That's the last warning I giving you for calling my name".
Telemacque told the court: "I smiled and turn to walk away from him. He told me not to smile at him. He held the crowbar in both hands and swung at my head. I had to put up my hand to protect my hand and face and I got hit on the back of the upper arm. He hit me another one on my shoulder... he hit me another one in my back. I go down. He hit me two more in my back and I try t run out of the gate. I ran to the gate, he hit me five times..."
Telemacque was taken to the Portsmouth Hospital and later by ambulance to the Princess Margaret Hospital where he spent eight days. Doctors operated on his hand and inserted a piece of steel there.
"The things I used to do I can't do anymore," added Telemacque.
The trial judge noted that the offence carried a maximum two years' imprisonment. Her nominal starting point of her sentencing would be 18 months because of the seriousness of the offence and injuries suffered.
After looking at the mitigating and aggravating factors, Justice Adrien-Roberts eventually arrived at nine months' imprisonment and that would be suspended for six months during which time he should not commit another offence or he would be jailed for nine months.
For earnings lost while convalescing the judge arrived at three months which amounted to $3,177 and $550 for a medical report and doctor's report. The court agreed on$7,000 for general damages for a total of $10,627 in compensation to Telemacque. Benjamin had to pay up $3,627 that day and the remaining $7,000 to be paid in seven months starting from February 28 to September 3, 2021. In default on full payment by September 30 he would be imprisoned for nine months.