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Registrar and Judge Stephenson
Registrar and Judge Stephenson

A male resident of Penville left the Roseau High Court on Wednesday October 30, 2013 headed for his home after a prison sentence of one year five months and 15 days imposed by resident judge Justice Birnie Stephenson expired that very day on which the sentenced was passed.

Ashley Marcellin pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Morris Pierre at Penville on Thursday September 13, 2012 when he appeared for his arraignment before Justice Stephenson on Wednesday September 18, 2013. The judge ordered a pre-sentence report to reach her on or before October 11.

Sentencing day eventually arrived for Marcellin, represented by Counsel Peter Alleyne on October 30. Justice Stephenson quickly noted that Marcellin had "psychiatric challenges, serious psychiatric challenges. He could have been suffering from psychotic rage."

Referring to the Social Welfare report, the judge noted that he was not taking his medication at the time of the incident. And while the virtual complainant was a police officer, the judge said she could not proceed to sentence "this morning" without a thorough psychiatric evaluation. Marcellin had suffered serious head injuries in the past. He was a good worker and was sent overseas by his employer to work where he had an accident and suffered severe head injuries. He was sent back to Dominica without compensation.

State Attorney Sherma Dalrymple agreed with the judge's observations and added that the prisoner had been on remand for one year five months and 15 days for an offence which carried maximum two years imprisonment.

And during that remand period at Stock Farm he had received no medicine. The judge added that before he got to his home he should go to the hospital to sort out his medication. Justice Stephenson sent for the Welfare Officer who had prepared the pre-sentence report on Marcellin.

She addressed Assistant Superintendent of Police Claude Weekes to the fact that the law make provisions for dealing with young and elderly people and people who are physically and mentally disabled.

She decided to sentence Ashley Marcellin to one year five months 15 days in prison minus time spent on remand.

So the police and social worker took Marcellin to the Acute Psychiatric Unit for his prescription and to the State Prison, if he had any property there, before being released to make his way to Penville.

Justice Stephenson prevailed on Marcellin to drink his medicine before he left the court.


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