So the judicial officer today fined the 25-year-old, of Chapman Village, St Thomas, $1,500 payable in two months or six months in jail. He was also placed on a three-month bond to keep the peace. If he is found to be in breach, the penalty is six months in prison.
Evidence heard during the summary trial was that the incident took place on the premises of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Blanchard went there to see his baby who had just died while Downes was there for treatment to his hand, which was in a sling at the time. They were walking in opposite directions.
Blanchard’s girlfriend testified today as a defence witness. She said she could only recall that the men bumped into and then cursed each other. She said Blanchard was upset that day because his baby had died and he had not been allowed to see the child when he went to the hospital.
She said she could not recall any other details though, like how far away she was from the accused at the time or what took place after the men had a verbal exchange although she was “not too far” away.
In coming to the conclusion that Blanchard was guilty of assault, the magistrate said he took note of the fact that the two men went to the same school and that Downes had dealt with a previous matter involving Blanchard, and which Blanchard somehow felt aggrieved about. He went on to explain that whether they were former schoolmates or not, Downes “has his job to do”.
“You seemed to have taken it out on him even though his hand was in a cast at the time,” the magistrate said.
Frederick also took Blanchard’s several previous convictions into account. Those included assault, theft and using indecent and insulting language to police officers.
In his address to the court, Blanchard apologized for his actions that day and confessed that “it was really difficult after I lost the yout”. Further, he spent four months in prison soon after the child’s death for non-payment of a fine and never got the chance to attend the funeral.
“I deeply and sincerely apologize for my actions,” Blanchard stressed, adding that he is now trying to “keep myself out of trouble and become a different man”.
The labourer promptly apologized to Downes when asked by the court to do so.