Charity man sentenced to three years for manslaughter

Charity businessman Clement James, who pleaded guilty to a count of manslaughter over a 2006 murder, will remain in prison for the next three years, after a judge took into consideration the five years he has already spent behind bars.

Justice James Bovell-Drakes, sitting in the Suddie Court, handed down the decision on Monday.

James, called Mark James was charged with the September 26, 2006 murder of Basil De Freitas.

Justice Bovell-Drakes, in sentencing the accused, took into consideration the recent Caribbean Court of Justice decision which stated that the accused must be credited back with the time he has already served waiting on his trial along with other extenuating circumstances. Credit was also given for his pleading guilty and not wasting judicial time, in addition to his promise to compensate the family of the deceased.

James, on October 5, entered a guilty plea to the offence of manslaughter when the state presented the indictment for murder. After he pleaded guilty, State Prosecutor Latchmie Rahamat presented the facts to the court.

According to the facts, the accused was a stallholder at the Charity market and the De Freitas was a porter working at the charity wharf. The two men had an argument at the market wharf after James rested his hand on the shoulder of De Freitas’ wife. It was during the argument that the accused and De Freitas chucked each other, resulting in the accused falling. A report was made to the Charity Police Station.

At the station, James and De Freitas had an exchange of words in the station and as James was leaving he was heard to have said “I will kill somebody today.” After the accused left the police station, he went up again to the victim and another argument ensued. As De Freitas was walking away, the accused was heard saying “you going away, you think I frighten you mother s****”.  De Freitas turned back, walked over to a utility pole nearby and the accused followed him. De Freitas picked up a piece of wood and according to the eyewitnesses he would have hit the accused with the piece of wood. The accused pulled out a knife and fatally stabbed De Freitas to the left side of his neck.

On October 20, a probation report was presented to the court and the accused made a statement in open court and later his lawyer Beverly Bishop made a plea in mitigation on his behalf.

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