Security guard Eon Archibald was yesterday morning sentenced to five years behind bars for chopping a man whom he had accused of having an affair with his wife.
Though he had initially denied ever wounding the man, he admitted to the offence after the commencement of his trial for attempted murder.
Archibald pleaded guilty before Justice Sandil Kissoon at the Georgetown High Court to wounding Dwayne Wallace with the intention of causing him grievous bodily harm or to maim, disfigure or disable him.
At yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Archibald indicated through his attorney that he would compensate the complainant in the sum of $300,000, which Wallace said he was willing to accept.
Wallace, who made this declaration under oath, however, told prosecutor Abigail Gibbs when she enquired, that he would not forgive his assailant, whose actions he said almost cost him his life.
After returning to his seat, Wallace appeared visibly unsettled. The judge then enquired whether he was satisfied that justice would be served by just the payment of compensation.
Wallace told the court that he was not sure, and would not want to say.
He had, however, moments before told defence attorney Adrian Thompson that he would be eventually able to forgive his attacker and bring a close to the matter once compensation was paid.
In mitigation, Thompson sought to advance to the court that the incident stemmed “from matters of the heart” and that his client had felt betrayed, before adding that while he was not attempting to excuse his behaviour, it was what was responsible for him reacting the way he did.
Counsel was, however, quick to point out that the father of six was remorseful, even as he begged the judge to impose a suspended sentence.
In his address to the court, Archibald apologised to Wallace, before stating that it was always his desire to so do. He explained that he previously refrained as he was not sure of what frame of mind the complainant may have been in if he had approached him on the several occasions he saw him on the road.
Asked if he had accepted his apology, Wallace responded to Archibald with a firm “no.”
Meanwhile, Archibald’s former wife, Gail-Ann Hamilton, told Thompson when questioned in the witness box yesterday that she felt personally responsible for all that had transpired.
And though Wallace had denied ever being in a relationship with the woman, she revealed to the court yesterday that they did have an affair.
Though he did not, however, say anything to the court, Wallace, who seemed confused and surprised at the woman’s revelation, tossed in his seat and in an enquiring manner constantly raised his hand.
He could be softly heard asking, “Lord, why me?”
For her part, Gibbs said that while matters of the heart may have been at play, it in no way justified or excused the defendant’s action, even as she asked the judge to consider the type of weapon used in the attack—a cutlass.
She said it was by God’s grace that the complainant was still alive, while noting the challenges he now faces because of the injuries he had suffered to one of his hands and a rib.
Previously displaying his injuries to the court, the complainant had said that it had damaged nerves to the fingers of his right hand, thus affecting his grip as he is right-handed.
The prosecutor said, too, that like Archibald, Wallace is also a father of three children who would have been affected because of his injuries, which affect his ability to do work.
Having heard submissions from both sides, Justice Kissoon said that the task was his to ensure the scales of justice were balanced.
To this end, the judge made it clear that the penalty must fit the offence, while noting that the payment of compensation could not excuse Archibald’s actions. He said that sentence is intended to deter potential offenders.
Justice Kissoon also noted that the court had to be mindful of the message it sends to society.
He said the court could not condone such an attack as that carried out by Archibald and then appear to be excusing it with the payment of compensation.
The court also considered that at the time of the attack, Archibald found neither Hamilton nor Wallace in any compromising position and he noted that it could not have been a case of provocation.
He also considered that the complainant had been chopped twice.
Having considered all the circumstances of the case, the judge commenced sentence at a base of 20 years, from which he deducted all together a total of 15 years for Archibald’s guilty plea, the favourable probation report presented on his behalf, his show of remorse and payment of compensation.
The 43-year-old seemed visibly-disappointed after realising that he would be serving jail time.
He had chopped Wallace on the night of June 4th, 2015 at the Pavement View Restaurant and Bar.