Fifty-three-year old Benjamin Jackson, a shopkeeper of Glen, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Thursday for the killing of fellow villager, twenty-nine-year old Christopher Allan Rouse.
According to information, Rouse was at Jackson’s shop and there was a dispute between the two. Someone to Rouse home but he returned, in the wee hours of the morning. The dispute arose again and there was a struggle in which Rouse was choking Jackson. To get some relief, Jackson reached for a pair of scissors and stabbed Rouse in the neck.
Rouse died at the door of the mobile police station in Glen shortly after her walked there and declared to law officers on November 1, 2015, that Jackson had stabbed him.
Jackson was arrested and later indicted for murder. While he was on remand for murder, his lawyer Jomo Thomas wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions (acting) Sejilla Mc Dowall offering a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
At the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Thomas told the High Court that clearly there was a history of harassment between the accused and deceased man. He said there was no premeditation in Rouse’s death and that there was no evidence to support the charge of murder.
Thomas said he wrote to the DPP on April 30, this year, offering a guilty plea on the lesser charge of manslaughter but it was not until recently that the DPP said they were open to the offer.
The DPP’s offer to accept the plea to the lesser charge came at the height of the trial when the prosecution had already put forward its evidence and the court was about to hear closing submissions.
Thomas told the court on Thursday that it was no fault of his client that the guilty plea came at the time it did. He also told the court that “trouble came to his door.”
Justice Brian Cottle, on handing down sentence, noted that the incident occurred at Jackson’s home early morning.
He also noted that the aggravating factor in the incident was that a weapon was used. The mitigating factor was that there was no pre-meditation and only one blow was delivered.
Justice Cottle said that in relation to aggravating factor for the accused there was none and that the mitigating factors were his remorse and the fact that he had no previous conviction.
Justice Cottle, in keeping with the guidelines set by the Eastern Caribbean Court, began with a notional starting point of a sentence of 15 years in prison. He said that the mitigating factors far outweighed the aggravating factors and so he subtracted three years, bringing it to twelve years.
He then gave one-third discount for the guilty plea, bringing it further down to eight years.At the time of sentencing, Jackson had already spent three years, one month and nine days on remand. The time spent on remand is to be deducted from the sentence imposed.