Policeofficers attend opening of the 2014 Law Year
Policeofficers attend opening of the 2014 Law Year

Thirty-one year old Cleaver Burton of Roseau has been ordered by trial judge Errol Thomas to pay in compensation to Brian Peter Dominique, also of Roseau, $60,000 in a one-off payment by September 13, 2015. Burton can be arrested by September 16, 2015 in default and imprisoned for eight years.

Justice Thomas imposed that fine on Burton on Friday September 13, 2015 when Burton appeared for sentencing. A jury of two men and seven women returned a guilty verdict of grievous bodily harm with intent to do Brian Dominique grievous or serious bodily harm at the Roseau High Court on Thursday February 12 at the end of a two-day trial.

State Attorney Fernillia Felix called six witnesses to put forward the State's case with Attorney Peter Alleyne conducting the defence.

Dominique had gone to Fond Miko, a yard on Virgin Lane in Roseau on Friday July 8, 2011 for his lunch break. He saw the accused in the yard and told him nothing they used to be friends. He pulled up a stool, took it to a spot under a coconut tree to eat his lunch. The convicted man came behind him with a knife and pricked him in the neck or upper back. The handle broke off with the blade of the knife stuck in the back of the virtual complainant.

Dr. Hendricks Paul, Consultant Surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital removed the foreign object of the knife blade from Dominique's back.

Corporal Hasani Blaize was given charge of the investigation. Judge Thomas asked for a social inquiry report while postponing sentencing to March 6, 2015. The formal instituting of the Caribbean Court of Justice as Dominica's highest appellate court on March 6 necessitated the postponement of Burton's sentencing.

Lawyer Alleyne, in mitigation said Burton had expressed remorse for his actions, and if given the opportunity would like to apologise to the victim. Eleven years ago, Burton was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been on prescribed medication for his condition. He had been admitted to the Acute Psychiatric Unit on a few occasions. He has had his apartment broken into on a few occasions when he was either at the State Prison of the Psychiatric Unit. He was the father of two daughters aged 11 and seven years who lived with him. Burton was not a violent person normally, continued Alleyne, but had anger management problems. And a custodial sentence would not assist the victim much. They were in favour of a compensation order that the court might make.

"We are placing ourselves at the mercy of the court and do our utmost to abide by it," the lawyer stated. Alleyne did point out that the prisoner had three previous convictions, two of which to do with violence.

Judge Thomas stated that Cleaver's actions could not be trivialised, making that statement twice for emphasis. Force was used, and the maximum prison term is 10 years. The victim was 44 years, and Dr Paul had reported that Dominique would always walk with a limp and with a stick, and would never reach full recovery. And evidence in court showed that he could not sit for long periods.