Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year
Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year

A young man of Roseau awaits a pre-sentence report from the Welfare Division before he will know his sentence for the offence of grievous bodily harm.

Cleaver Burton is presently on remand at the Stock Farm State Prison for causing grievous bodily harm to Brian Peter Dominique, also of Roseau, with intent to do the victim grievous or serious bodily harm.

A jury returned with a guilty verdict at the Roseau High Court after about two hours on Thursday February 12 at the end a two-day trial during which the State, led by State Attorney Fernillia Felix, called six witnesses.

Presiding judge Justice Errol Thomas asked for a social inquiry report to be submitted by March 1, 2015 with sentencing scheduled for March 6, 2015.

During the trial, Brian Dominique told the court that on Friday July 8, 2011 he had gone to a Fond Miko, a yard on Virgin Lane in Roseau for his lunch break. He saw the accused in the yard and told him nothing; they used to be friends for a long time. He pulled up a stool, took it to a spot under a coconut tree to eat his lunch.

"He came behind me with a knife and chook (prick or stab) me in the neck. He broke the knife in my neck. I slid on the ground and he kept on stamping me on my thighs and I had to put my hands on my balls for him not to burst it," he said.

Dominique said he felt cold and could not speak or do anything because his whole body had seized. An ambulance was called and it took him away. He recalled nothing after the stabbing in his neck.

Cross-examined by Defense Counsel Peter Alleyne, Dominique told the court that Burton had previously chooked him in the ear. He got four stitches and never went to the police. He explained that when he was stabbed getting to the hospital was what mattered. An eyewitness, Marcelo Augustus told the court he left work at 12 o'clock to go eat his lunch in "The Gong" opposite the Roseau Cathedral.

"There was an incident between Cleaver Burton and Brian Dominique in the yard, in 'The Gong'. When I came in the yard Brian and I sat down and we were talking. The accused came and an argument arose. The accused said: 'So you never went to the police for me. So you planning to do me back. Brian never answered," the witness said.

Burton left, and Augustus and Brian sat speaking.

"He (Cleaver Burton) came back and started arguing with Brian. Brian never responded. I heard a punching sound and Brian was on the ground and noticed a knife in his back. Cleaver was standing next to Brian. I see Cleaver kick Brian while he was on the ground. I did not see Brian do anything to Cleaver before he fell on the ground. I did not see the accused with anything in his hands while he argued with Brian… Brian started screaming: 'Somebody help me, help me!' Cleaver was kicking him and then he left. I saw Brian had a knife in his back. The blade was stuck in his back. The handle had come off."

Someone called an ambulance and it came and left with Brian.

Cleaver Burton in a three-minute statement from the prisoners' dock said he "was in an area in Roseau called Fond Miko. I usually go there at lunch time every day. I was sitting on a wooden bench under a shed when Brian Dominique approached me with a scissors. He was pacing up and down. I jabbed him in the back with the knife I had in my hand. When I looked I only saw the handle in my hand, and then I left."

Dr. Hendricks Paul, Consultant Surgeon at the Princess Margaret Hospital did not appear for the state to give evidence, but his deposition was read by the Magistrate's Clerk. The doctor examined Brian Dominique on July 8, 2011 on Alford Ward at the PMH. There was a foreign object in the fourth intercostals space, high up in the back, which was two centimeters from mid line posterior. The object was long and flat with a serrated edge. It was pulled out in theatre, put in a bag and given to Corporal Hasani Blaize the investigating officer on July 11. The patient was discharged on July 18, 2011. The foreign object was consistent with a knife. Dr. Paul saw the patient several times thereafter. The patient walks with a limp, uses a stick and would never get back to full recovery. No treatment or therapy could improve his condition because the nerves were cut. Constable Blaize investigated the incident. He formally charged Cleaver Burton on Friday July 22, 2011.

The jury accepted the state's case and returned a guilty verdict on Thursday February 12, 2015.