Perpetrators of domestic and gender based violence “cannot act with impunity” given the devastating consequences of their actions.
The stern warning was issued today by Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius as she sentenced St Lucian Cuthbert Joseph to nine years in jail for slashing the face of his son’s mother, Margaret Christophe, on August 12, 2014.
Cornelius was adamant that the state had a responsibility through the criminal justice system and otherwise not only to protect women from this scourge, but “also to indicate that such cases will be dealt with seriously . . . . and that the excuse of rampant emotions and jealousy cannot be [enough]”.
The couple’s relationship ended in June 2014, but Joseph apparently became enraged when he suspected that Christophe, who had since moved out of the home they shared, “had a man”.
In a fit of jealously, the accused travelled to St Joseph were the woman was living and waited at a bus stop before boarding the bus with her and their son, who was seven years old at the time.
Joseph first verbally abused Christophe in patois before the attack turned physical when Christophe disembarked the bus at Parris Gap, St Joseph. It was at that point that he used a box cutter to chop her in the face and collarbone before ingesting a number of painkillers and attempting to slash his own wrist.
While describing the incident as “a grave case of domestic abuse” since Christophe suffered extensive injuries for which she needs ongoing treatment, Cornelius ordered Joseph to compensate his victim in the amount of $10,000, which must be paid – either in lump sum or four installments of $2,500 – within two years of his release from jail.
“The court is concerned that the injuries you inflicted . . . were of such a degree that she has and will need ongoing and rehabilitative care. This exacerbated [by the fact] that she is a St Lucian [and] as such has to bear the cost of this care, as well as herself and her child,” Cornelius said, while cautioning Joseph that failure to pay could result in a further penalty.
The prisoner, who has five years, four months and two weeks left of the sentence to serve, must also enroll in counselling programmes offered at Dodds prison to assist him in coping with stressful situations as well as anger management. (FW)