After a Grand Court jury found her guilty in December, Andrea Cranston was sentenced last week to two years imprisonment for inflicting grievous bodily harm. The complainant was a former boyfriend.
Mr. Justice Alex Henderson had adjourned sentencing so that a social inquiry report could be prepared.
On 2 February, he heard mitigation from Defence Attorney Menelik Miller and reviewed the facts of the case before imposing the prison term.
The offence occurred on 22 January 2006, in the vicinity of the Pistol Bar. Cranston and the complainant had been in a relationship for many years. In the man’s mind, at least, the relationship had ended several weeks earlier.
Apparently Cranston was not happy about it ending and wished it to continue.
There may have been a bit of equivocation on the man’s part and the situation led to considerable argument between them.
On the night of the incident, around 9pm, the complainant left Pistol Bar and was walking toward Eastern Avenue to go to his sister’s house.
He had told the court that a bicycle rode up on top of him and he pushed it away, thinking someone was about to rob him. He discovered that the rider was Cranston and he told her to stay away from him. He then walked away.
Cranston said ‘Check your f—— arm.’ At the time he didn’t feel anything and just kept walking. Soon, however, there was a warmth on his side and he realised he was bleeding heavily.
He became weak, but made it to his sister’s house. He was taken to hospital, where the doctor determined that he had a single stab wound to his upper chest. The doctor said it was a serious wound inflicted by a sharp object.
Cranston gave evidence, and her version was essentially one of self-defence. She had told the court that the complainant hit her and kicked the back wheel of her bicycle so that she fell down. She got up and he licked her with his fist so that she fell again. He came after her and she caught sight of something on the ground, so she picked it up and swiped at him.
She admitted saying, ‘Check your f—-in arm.’
The judge commented that, by finding her guilty, the jury must have rejected her version and found that the complainant was telling the truth and the defendant was not.
He referred to Cranston’s record of previous convictions, which included drug consumption and theft. The Crown had advised him of a conviction Cranston had in the US for assaulting the same man.
She had committed other offences since January 2006 which were now before the Summary Court. He said he was not taking them into account and expected that any sentence would run consecutive to the term he imposed.
The social inquiry report revealed that the defendant, now 47, had a long unhappy history of cocaine addiction and alcohol abuse. She had made a few half-hearted attempts to overcome these problems.
He called the report a good one, which concluded by saying Cranston was at high risk of re-offending and her previous history did not support a non-custodial sentence with supervision at this time.
The judge said he considered the inflicted wound to have been potentially serious – it could have been life threatening if it had been deeper.
Taking all the factors into account, he set sentence at two years, with time in custody to be taken into account.
The case for the Prosecution was conducted by Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees.