Family relationships were aired in Grand Court earlier this month when George Evans, 51, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for stabbing his aunt.
Evans pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously wounding her with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on 30 March 2006.
Senior Crown Counsel Trevor Ward told the court the woman was treated for a deep laceration to the head, another to the neck and injuries to her fingers. He said it was sheer luck and because of the woman’s own fortitude that the injuries were not more serious.
After sentencing, Evans was acquitted of the alternative charge of attempted murder.
Evans and his aunt lived in separate houses on the same family compound in West Bay.
There was some disagreement between the Crown’s summary of facts and the version put forward by Defence Attorney Keith Collins. But it was agreed that Evans had been drinking the night before and had accused his aunt of phoning someone and talking about him.
The next morning he went to her house. On the Crown’s account, he went to ask his aunt for a bedspread his girlfriend had given her. She asked him for a bowl and fork she had lent him with food.
Mr. Collins said Evans went across to his aunt’s that morning to get a cigarette. She gave him a bowl of rice and beef and he realised it was a bowl from his house he used regularly and it had gone missing. Then he saw her with the bedspread and got more upset.
There was no dispute about what happened next. Mr. Ward said Evans pushed his aunt onto a sofa and said ‘I told you I was gong to get you. It’s two more I have to kill.’ He reached into his pocket, pulled out a knife and started to stab at her.
She tried to take evasive action but was stabbed to the back of the neck and head. When he was about to stab a third time, she grabbed the blade of the knife. He then appeared to stumble and she was able to run from the house.
Mr. Ward listed the aggravating features of the case: the attack was unprovoked and in her own home; it was premeditated because he entered her home with his knife; vulnerable areas were targeted; the incident had significant impact on the victim.
After her injuries, the aunt had to be removed from the premises and placed in the care of relatives. Before the incident, she had enjoyed being outdoors in her garden.
Justice Priya Levers expressed her concern. ‘How is she to go to sleep and not worry that something will happen to her – because it’s the same yard?’
On the other hand, she could not lock Evans up forever. ‘He will come out and they will have to live together unless he moves.’
Mr. Collins said Evans wanted to publicly apologise to his aunt, who was in court.
‘He might have been apologising to her funeral casket. That’s the problem I have in this case,’ the judge replied.
Mr. Collins handed up numerous references from prominent people in West Bay, attesting to Evans’ previous good character and contributions to the community. Evans had even received a Spirit of Tourism award some years ago.
The most significant factor in mitigation was what happened to Evans after the incident, Mr. Collins said. The aunt’s sons beat him up so badly he had to be operated on and spent 14 days in hospital. A baseball bat was used and Evans’ jaw was broken in three places.
The sons went to court, pleaded guilty and paid fines of $750, Mr. Collins related. ‘How does one balance things out?’ he asked.
Justice Levers said the only way she could balance it out was the severe provocation the sons must have felt; she did not think there was any premeditation on their part. ‘I don’t exonerate the family of the complainant, [but] when you see your mother stabbed and bleeding, just ask yourself how you would feel.’
Mr. Collins said Evans had a hospital bill of $8,184 and perhaps could sue the sons.
‘What about her suing him for trauma and all the sleepless nights?’ the judge countered. She said she didn’t think things should go that way. When families come to court it is hoped that problems will be dealt with and people will get on with their lives.
The judge urged the aunt not to carry anger in her heart. If the nephew apologised and it was part of the healing process, she should let him. The judge then urged Evans’ wife not to interfere with others in the yard and seek help for her husband if he started drinking.
In passing sentence the judge said alcohol had contributed to Evans’ mood swings. She recommended anger management counselling if he could get it in prison and suggested he join Alcoholics Anonymous.
He is not to contact his aunt and not approach her unless she talked to him. She recommended that, after he got anger management counselling, he write a letter of apology.