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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 moving plea for leniency by Lawyer Bernadette Lambert may have moved Justice Errol Thomas to sentence a man to six months in prison for indecent assault.

State Attorney Fernillia Felix told the Roseau High Court that the virtual complainant was seven years old at the time of the assault that occurred on Tuesday July 24, 2012. She was in her mother's kitchen. Her mother was outside while the prisoner was in the yard cutting breadfruit.

The girl came out and the 45-year old man touched her private parts. The child told her mother and the matter was reported to the police. He was arrested and charged with indecent assault.

In mitigation Lambert noted that the prisoner had pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday June 30, 2015, the earliest opportunity at the High Court and thus qualified for one third of the notional sentence the court was disposed to impose.

Lambert described the life of the prisoner as one of abandonment and neglect from birth. His parents had migrated leaving him in the care of grandparents, primarily his grandmother who was now 91 years old. While he had siblings he lacked proper socialization and bonding. Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Griffin Benjamin and Dr Fevrier-Drigo had scrutinized the mental state of the prisoner in 2014. In effect, the prisoner had lived with schizophrenia for the past 17 years. He heard voices in his head and talked with them.

He was able to function as a labourer before he fell from a tree and broke his left arm in several places which affected his ability to function as a labourer ever since. He had thus gotten into some mischief, added Lambert.

He had one conviction for theft since 2003 which made him virtually unknown to the court. He had expressed remorse in his own way for his action. The lawyer asked for leniency for the prisoner.

Justice Errol Thomas in response to the plea: "The court has bent backwards to assist you in your special circumstance – turn a leaf in your life. Try to get married and invite me to the wedding when you get married."


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