PHILIPSBURG–Marco Giovanni Da Silva (60) had hoped to have his manslaughter conviction overturned on appeal, but the Joint Court of Justice on Monday confirmed the lower court’s 2022 ruling and sentenced the former Cannegieter Street resident to six years in prison.
Da Silva claimed self-defence during his appeals trial last month, saying his neighbour had hit him with a chair and tried to choke him on the evening of May 27, 2022. He told the panel of three judges that he had tried to run away, but the victim had chased him down.
Da Silva told the court that the incident had started over an argument about money.
The former construction worker said he had not been able to work because of an injury and was surviving on government welfare. He said he would regularly give his monthly stipend to the victim to pay his utility bills, after which he would return the remainder.
The night of the stabbing Da Silva said he had asked the victim for his money, but the man gave him US $60 less than what he expected. Da Silva pressed for the correct change and claimed the victim instead got angry and attacked.
“I took the knife to try and help myself,” Da Silva told the court during the appeals trial.
Police found the victim lying on the ground in his home with blood splattered on the door and walls. The wounds and severe loss of blood landed the victim in the hospital’s intensive care unit. It took him three months to recover.
“The court is of the opinion that the factual circumstances on which the defendant bases his self-defence are not plausible,” the Joint Court said in its short, three-page verdict. “No indications can be derived from the case file that support the defendant’s scenario, in which the victim allegedly attacked him and chased him in his garden.”
The Joint Court found the victim’s version of events more credible. The victim told police that Da Silva had gotten into his face during the argument and he had pushed him away. After the push, Da Silva pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the arm and stomach.
“The victim’s statement is supported by the statement of another neighbour, who did not see the incident but who heard it, and who stated that there was a discussion about money and that, at one point, the victim let a loud scream,” the Joint Court said. “The defendant’s self-defence claim is therefore rejected, simply because it lacks a factual basis.”
In September 2022, the lower court found Da Silva guilty of manslaughter and ordered him to sit six years in the Point Blanche prison. Da Silva was arrested on the night of the stabbing and only spent nine days in custody before being remanded. He has been free since.
After the Joint Court of Justice, convicted persons only have one more appeal, which is to the Dutch Supreme Court. However, this court does not re-evaluate evidence; it only determines whether the other courts applied the law correctly.
About four years ago, Da Silva was convicted of attempted severe mistreatment in another stabbing incident, in which a man was stabbed in the neck. For this crime, he received a 12-month conditional prison sentence with anger management training. He also spent time at Turning Point Foundation to get over his issues with alcohol abuse.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/6-year-sentence-confirmed-for-stabbing-neighbour-over-60