“If I could turn back the hands of time, it never would have happened.”
Those words came from 26-year-old Ravier Ishmael Straker when he reappeared before Justice Jacqueline Cornelius in the No. 5 Supreme Court Monday morning.
Last year, Straker admitted to the unlawful killing of John Baptiste in May 2013.
When the facts of the case were presented, the court heard that Baptiste was at Lonnie’s Bar in Nelson Street, The City on May 31 that year, when Straker and others came to the establishment. Karaoke was going on the time.
Sometime during the event, the deceased and Straker had an argument and a fight ensued. Straker made several stabbing motions towards Baptiste with a knife but the one to his chest was the fatal one. He then ran off and was later found in an abandoned house.
The convicted man expressed regret when asked if he had anything to say before sentencing.
Mitigating, defence attorney Roy Hurley said his client has accepted responsibility for his actions and has shown remorse.
“It would be idle of me to argue that the case is not serious enough to warrant a custodial sentence,” Hurley continued, “but the question should be for how long, after the seriousness of the offence has been determined.”
He added that the evidence suggested that the attack on Baptiste had not been premeditated, nor had Straker been forearmed.
Hurley explained that his client was 24 when he committed the offence and even now at 27, “he should still be able to turn his life around”.
He also stated that Straker’s formative years had been compromised by the absence of both parents who had migrated and he had therefore succumbed to “unfavourable influences”.
Hurley further reminded the court that Straker’s early guilty plea ought to attract a reduction in his sentence. He also asked the court to consider that incarcerating the father of a six-year-old for a lengthy period could affect her development as well.
In response, Principal Crown Counsel Elwood Watts said notwithstanding Straker’s family structure, the fact that he had absented himself from school and gave trouble when he attended, meant that not even the system could contain him.
“From early he was not amenable to the system,” Watts explained, saying that Straker had no regard for truant offices while he was at school, nor had previous imprisonment for firearm possession and burglary contained his behaviour.
“It is no wonder that Ravier Straker has appeared before the court having caused the death of someone,” Watts said, expressing the view that harsher penalties needed to be employed in dealing with Straker.
A date is to be set for Straker’s sentencing.