Stress led to domestic violence

Serious stress led to a catastrophic loss of self-control, Defence Attorney Phillip McGhee told the court during a sentencing hearing for a man who stabbed his wife in her face.

Hank Allen Bodden Jr., 30, had previously pleaded guilty to wounding. He spent six months in custody after the incident.

On 1 August, Justice Karl Harrison said he was taking those factors into account when he handed down a sentence of two years imprisonment, suspended for two years. He recommended counselling and Bodden readily agreed.

He was directed to contact the probation officer to receive instructions for attendance at the anger management and domestic violence programmes.

Crown Counsel Nicole Petit suggested adding any other treatment the probation officer would deem fit and the judge agreed.

Mr. McGhee said the offence occurred at the couple’s home. It was the culmination of a number of years of incredible stress and depression, he said.

One child in the family is severely disabled and permanently bed-ridden, the attorney explained. The couple did not consider the child a burden: they wanted the best care and equipment for him. The family lived in a small two-room wooden house that had been assessed by the Department of Environmental Health as unfit for habitation. Mould and damp affected the child’s health and Mrs. Bodden’s.

Mr. McGhee said another difficulty for Bodden was not having transportation to and from his job. He worked long hours providing a valuable service by repairing essential equipment; then he had to walk or hitch-hike home.

At the time of the incident, Bodden had been staying away from the family home because of previous arguments.

Ms Petit said Bodden returned home and during the exchange between them, he punched his wife. When she attempted to leave he went into the kitchen, got a knife and stabbed her.

It was a single stab wound, but she sustained serious injuries as a result, Ms Petit told the court.

Mrs. Bodden was in court and the judge asked to see her and speak with her.

In passing sentence, the judge referred to previous violent behaviour on Bodden’s part. A probation officer advised the court that Bodden never had the benefit of attending any sessions to see how he could get assistance in controlling his temper.

‘One of the things I’m very much keen about is for you to get some professional help where your anger is concerned,’ the judge told him. Such help could be obtained in prison.

But the judge kept in mind that Mrs. Bodden wanted the family to be together. He considered the defendant’s penitence, expression of remorse and intention to change. One indication already was his recent baptism. That meant he would be attending church and should benefit accordingly, the judge indicated.