Murder accused Andrew Gomes, who beheaded his father Stanislaus Gomes in 2008, was yesterday sentenced to serve a 12-year jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Gomes, who was sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh in the High Court, had initially pleaded not guilty when the murder charge was read to him earlier in the day. However, in the middle of the evidence, defence counsel Hukumchand indicated that his client wanted to plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
“I real sorry for what happened with me and de father. He was really harassing me and it was an accident,” Gomes told the court before sentencing.
Asked by the judge to relate the facts of the case to the court, State Prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin told the court that the accused had asked his father for $200 and the man refused to give him. Instead, the accused claimed that his father grabbed a cutlass and he in turn grabbed one and chopped his father on his neck, severing his head.
According to Gildharie-Mursalin the accused then said that he left and went to a nearby shop, owned by Selicia Tierre and he asked, ‘What must I do?’ She stated that Tierre said that she saw the accused with a cutlass with what appeared to be blood and after she asked him thrice what had happened, he threw the cutlass in the sand and knelt down, raised his hands in the air and said that he had chopped his father five times and that he had chopped his head off. She stated that the accused then got up, went into a clump of bushes, hid the cutlass and returned.
The prosecutor then told the court that Corporal Herbert Henry and a party of police subsequently went to the scene and arrested the accused, cautioned him and put the allegation to him. In reply, he said, “Mi just kill mi father, mi chop he bout 9 time and he head fall off.” She said that he then showed them where he had hid the cutlass and it was then retrieved by Henry.
Gildharie-Mursalin stated that the following day, government pathologist Dr. Nehaul Singh conducted a post-mortem examination and he found that the deceased had three incised wounds caused by a sharp instrument. She said that Singh gave the cause of death as decerebration due to incised wounds to the head.
Justice Singh then asked the accused if he accepted the facts as relayed by the prosecution, if he accepted responsibility for causing his father’s death and if he understood that he would be sentenced to years in prison. Gomes said he understood and the judge subsequently directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty of murder and guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
Hukumchand, who asked the court to visit Gomes with some mercy, said that sometimes it is said that parents make children what they are. He went on to say that Gomes’ mother died when he was between two and three years old. Hukumchand stated his father would leave him in the care of neighbours and should have paid him more attention.
He said that Gomes had no previous brushes with the law and that on the day of the altercation his father attacked him with a cutlass. He said that his client was very remorseful and he would have to live with the fact that he killed his father for the rest of his life.
The judge told Gomes that in manslaughter cases, the court starts at 30 years. The judge then deducted three years for Gomes’ guilty plea, five years for his immediately volunteering information to the police, five years for the deceased contributing to his own death and five years for time served. As a result, he then sentenced Gomes to serve the remaining 12 years.
Gomes was on trial before Justice Brassington Reynolds in June of this year, but the trial was aborted because of irresponsible reporting. He was then ordered a retrial in the next assizes.