Four years for machete assault

An incident in Cayman Brac on the Queen’s Birthday holiday has left one man with a badly damaged arm and another with a four year prison sentence.

Lynvol Smith, 43, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, but guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to Orlando Knight last 12 June at Pop a Top Park in Watering Place.

On Friday, Justice Dale Sanderson sentenced Smith to four years imprisonment after summarising how Knight had been chopped with a machete nine times.

There were differences in the accounts given by the complainant and the defendant. But Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey said Smith accepted that his response to provocation was not reasonable – he went too far and lost control.

Crown Counsel Laura Manson explained that Smith’s house had been burgled earlier in 2006 and the complainant had been charged with the offence. One condition of his bail was that he stay away from Smith.

On the June holiday, Smith was at the park cooking fish. Knight came up and asked for a piece of fish and Smith told him to go away.

Instead, Knight picked up the fork Smith was using to turn the fish and Smith took it away. Then Knight reached for a machete Smith had to chop firewood, but Smith got it away from him.

From there the account differed. Knight said he turned to walk away and felt a blow on his back. He went to pick up a rock and felt more blows.

Smith said the complainant bent down to pick up rocks first, so he chopped him.

In either case, Smith said he lost control. When he saw what he was doing, he jumped into the sea to cool down.

Knight was taken to Faith Hospital, where doctors noted that he had lost a significant amount of blood and required surgery. They detailed nine cut or chop injuries to his neck, shoulder, chest and arm.

The worst was to the left forearm, where muscles and nerves were severed and a bone was broken and displaced. Further surgery was required and it is not certain the complainant will ever recover full use of his left hand and arm.

In passing sentence, Mr. Justice Sanderson took into account Smith’s guilty plea, his apology, the provocation of the alleged burglary and the complainant’s approach to Smith that he should not have made.

The negative factors were the multiple and extremely serious injuries, the use of a potentially lethal weapon, and the fact that the response was out of all proportion to the provoking circumstances.

The judge also took into account Smith’s previous convictions, including common assault and carrying an offensive weapon.

The maximum sentence for causing grievous bodily harm is life imprisonment. Recent cases of this nature had been met with sentences between three and six years after a guilty plea, the judge said.

While each case must be dealt with according to its own circumstances and the court should not follow previous cases blindly, there should be some consistency, he said. Taking into account the mitigating and aggravating features as well as authorities, he concluded that four years was appropriate in this case.

He also ordered that Smith undergo psychological treatment for anger management and have a review that could be made available to the parole Board for its consideration at the appropriate time.