PHILIPSBURG–The Joint Court of Justice on Thursday warned a 25-year-old defendant of the risks involved with appealing a sentence imposed by the Court of First Instance in an attempted-manslaughter case.
Jazel Jermin Felipe Maria was among three suspects facing between 16 and 18 months in prison, as they were suspected of attempted manslaughter after a roadside accident on December 2, 2017.
Maria, who was the main suspect in this case, was sentenced to 15 months, five of which were suspended, on three years’ probation, with Parole Board supervision which may include aggression replacement training (ART), for deliberately inflicting severe bodily harm with a machete.
The two others were sentenced to do community service, as they were found guilty of mistreatment. All three suspects were charged with attempted manslaughter, theft and weapon possession.
The incident, which took place outside Sea Breeze Hotel on Welgelegen Road, originated in a roadside accident outside a Chinese restaurant on A.J.C. Brouwer Road during which a car was damaged.
As the owner of the car believed the situation had not been handled by the police to her satisfaction, she went looking for the victim at the hotel where he was staying, after which a violent confrontation followed in the hotel parking lot and in the street.
The victim was struck with a machete, severely injured and sustained very deep cuts to a thumb and an upper arm. The Court found Maria, who had used the machete, guilty of inflicting severe physical injury and of possession of an illegal weapon. The Court specifically held it against him that he had used the weapon against an unarmed “loner,” and dismissed self-defence pleadings.
The Prosecutor had called for 24 months, eight of which were to be suspended, on two years’ probation, and on Thursday the Solicitor General informed those present at the hearing that he would be seeking conviction for attempted manslaughter, which carries a much heavier punishment than Maria’s current sentence.
The defendant told the Court of Appeals that he had filed for appeal because he considers the Pointe Blanche prison not “suitable” for the execution of his sentence as he would “not be able to receive help and assistance there.”
Attorney-at-law Sjamira Roseburg, in representing her colleague Safira Ibrahim who could not be present at Thursday’s hearing, explained that the appeal is aimed at the punishment and the method of enforcement.
As the Court explained to the defendant, it is legally impossible to revise a punishment without looking into the merits of a case. Therefore, the appellant should take into consideration that the Court may find attempted manslaughter proven in his case and as a consequence, impose a higher sentence.
Although the case had already been called, the Joint Court still offered Maria the possibility to withdraw the appeal and ordered a recess during which he consulted with Roseburg. However, as Roseburg was not his official legal representative she did not consider herself authorised to make any decision in this case.
After a second recess, the Court of Appeals stated that the defendant was entitled to proper legal assistance to defend himself against the accusation that he allegedly committed attempted manslaughter. As he did not immediately withdraw his appeal, the Court said he would still be able to do so before the next hearing, which was scheduled for August 21.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/87567-joint-court-warns-suspect-of-higher-appeal-sentence