A little over three years ago, Geoffrey Clifford Oliver reacted to what he considered an “inappropriate touch” by beating a workmate.
In the District ‘A’ Magistrates Court on Monday, he was given two months to pay $3,000 compensation to the victim with an alternative of six months in prison.
After maintaining a not guilty plea for just over three years, the 37-year-old Reece Hill, St. Thomas resident changed his plea on Monday when he appeared before Magistrate Douglas Frederick.
He admitted that he unlawfully and maliciously wounded Randy Small on December 14, 2012 in the Cheapside Market where they both work as butchers.
Prosecuting the case, Station Sergeant Neville Watson told the court that the accused and the complainant came into close proximity on the date in question.
In an effort to get Oliver’s attention, Small touched him in his back. However, Oliver thought the touch was inappropriate, hit Small in the chest with his right hand and knocked him to the ground.
When the complainant got up, he did not retaliate, the prosecutor said, since he thought that the matter had finished. Later that evening, however, he saw Oliver coming towards him with a wheel tool in one hand and a butcher knife in the other.
When Oliver reached within arm’s length of Small, he hit him three times on the left shoulder with the wheel tool. Small, in an effort to escape, ran around another butcher who was present and another stall.
Oliver, however, grabbed at him and, in doing so, his nails raked Small in the chest. He also stabbed Small twice in the left hand and cut him on his left wrist and palm. Oliver also threatened to kill the complainant.
Oliver, giving his version of the events, recalled that on the evening in question, he went to the cold storage to put away some meat when “Randy rub his finger down the centre of my back.”
“I spin ‘round, and wid one lash, I lick
him to the ground,” Oliver recounted. Afterwards, he said Small went towards the front of the market and by the time he (Oliver) came outside, he found his vehicle with a flat tyre on the left side.
Oliver said he took the tyre to have it repaired and was told that it had been “stabbed.” On returning to the vehicle, Oliver said he noticed a second tyre on the same left side of the vehicle had also been cut.
Confessing to the magistrate that he was angry at the time, Oliver said: “I hold him (Small) and put some licks ‘pon him,” especially since he had to spend $600 that day on new tyres.
Oliver told the court that he and Small were never friends since Small and others “drink and do a lot of foolishness” in the market. “He was the only person who I had noise with that day,” Oliver said.
However, Magistrate Frederick considered it a “serious matter”. He said Oliver’s behaviour was “uncalled for” and it was a situation where he could easily have killed his victim.
Additionally, the magistrate said that after the initial beating, Oliver had made it worse and “took the law out of his favour” by attacking Small again, after assuming that he had cut his tyres in the absence of proof.
Frederick said he hoped Oliver had matured with the passage of time.
Small, who was present at court on Monday, said he was willing to accept $3,000 compensation for his injuries within “two weeks.” However, Magistrate Frederick gave Oliver two months in which to pay the compensation with an alternative of six months in jail.
Oliver was also placed on a bond to keep the peace for three months. Any breach means that he will forfeit $1,500 immediately or face a month in prison.
Both men were also ordered to stay away from each other.