A labourer who struck his foreman in the face with a shovel has been ordered to pay $20 000 in compensation, half of which he had to fork out immediately.
The sentence was imposed on Errol Demond Jacobs of 2nd Avenue Arthur Land, Tweedside Road, St Michael, by Madam Justice Pamela Beckles in Supreme Court No. 5 on Wednesday.
He had previously pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting serious bodily harm on Rory Marshall more than ten years ago.
“After careful and thorough analysis of the matter at hand, this court finds that you, Errol Demond Jacobs on the 11th of February 2013, committed this senseless, unwarranted, cowardly act on the complainant, your foreman, who was only doing his job by ensuring that the scaffolding was erected correctly for the safety of all,” the judge told Jacobs.
The court heard that Jacobs and Marshall had known each other for about two years before the incident. On the mentioned date, the two were on a job site in Society, St John to build a chicken pen when they had a difference of opinion over how to erect the scaffolding needed for the job. The foreman was concerned that Jacobs was about to set it up incorrectly and tried to explain to him that it was unsafe.
Later, as Marshall was resting on the structure, Jacobs walked up behind him with a shovel. Another worker on the job site saw what was happening and shouted, “Look out!”
Marshall felt a blow to his face as he was turning around. He did not see who or what hit him, but that information was eventually relayed to him.
As a result of the impact, the complainant received multiple facial fractures and injuries to his right eye and had to have two surgical procedures. The medical report outlined that moderate to severe force was used to inflict the injuries.
Outlining the aggravating factors of the offence, the judge noted the nature and gravity of the crime, the use of a weapon, the prevalence of such offences in society, the degree of force used to inflict the injuries, that the complainant was known to the accused, and the effect the injuries have had and continue to have on the complainant’s life as his face is disfigured and his sight is impaired.
No mitigating factors were found, and the judge gave a starting point of seven years in prison.
Speaking on the offender, Justice Beckles said the mitigating factors were his early guilty plea, expression of remorse, full cooperation with police investigations, previously clean criminal record, favourable pre-sentence report, and the delay in having the 10-year-old matter adjudicated. She found no personal aggravating factors.
The starting point was therefore adjusted down by two years, leaving a five-year sentence.
Previously, in his submissions on what sentence Jacobs should receive for his actions, State Counsel Paul Prescod told Madam Justice Beckles that the offence had crossed the threshold for a custodial sentence. He noted that Marshall also wanted compensation because of how the incident had impacted him, and submitted that Jacobs should pay Marshall compensation between $25 000 and $30 000, with an alternative prison sentence if not paid.
Jacobs’ attorney Mohia Ma’at, however, suggested payment in the region of $7 500.
In his impact statement, Marshall noted the over 100 days he had spent on sick leave and asked for $20 000, though saying that would not even compensate for his disfigurement, pain and suffering.
Justice Beckles agreed to substitute Jacobs’ sentence with a compensation order for Marshall’s requested amount, ordering that half be paid forthwith, with the remainder due in 12 months.
His alternative sentence was three years and 115 days behind bars, after the one-third discount for the guilty plea, and the deduction of time on remand.