9 months for assaults

Amitava Dutta was sentenced to nine
months imprisonment on Monday following his guilty pleas to causing grievous
bodily harm to one woman and actual bodily harm to another woman twice. The
offences occurred in the context of what Defence Attorney Ben Tonner called
domestic violence.

The most serious charge related to
an incident on New Year’s Eve 2007, when one woman’s arm was broken in two
places and her fingers were bent back resulting in two of them being fractured.

Another woman was assaulted on two
occasions in 2008, sustaining lumps on the back of her head, bruises and pulled
muscles. In a third incident, Dutta pinned her against a wall, began hitting
her and damaged the wall.

Before passing sentence, Justice
Alexander Henderson said these were serious offences. “In the Cayman Islands,
domestic assaults — or I should say assaults upon women in a domestic context
— are unfortunately far too frequent. In my view, there is a pressing need to
impose sentences which have some deterrent effect in this community.”

Sentencing involves the need to
deter other like-minded offenders, he pointed out, along with the need to deter
this offender, provide for his rehabilitation and protect the public.

The judge said he had been provided
with victim impact reports: “Each of the victims has spoken in specific terms
to the lasting effects, both psychological and physical, of these assaults.”

He said he considered the
appropriate starting point for the grievous bodily harm sentence to be nine
months, with a two-month discount for the guilty plea. A typical one-third
discount was not given because Dutta had said the injury occurred after the
woman ran out of the house; he tried to pull her back in and she slipped on wet
steps. The judge said he did not find this account credible; he found the woman
to be an honest witness trying to tell what happened as she recalled it. He
concluded the injuries were the result of a sustained assault.

For the actual bodily harm
assaults, the sentence would be three months each, reduced to two months for
the guilty pleas, and made to run concurrently but consecutive to the seven
months. He noted Dutta had repaired the damaged wall and had provided his attorney
with $2,500 to cover any compensation order. The judge ordered that the woman
with the broken arm receive $2,442 for medical and related expenses. The second
woman did not apply for compensation.

The judge also took into account
mitigation by Mr. Tonner, who said Dutta, 34, was of previous good character,
had been working in Cayman 10 years as a businessman, effectively the manager
of a restaurant, and had applied for permanent residence. He submitted
references from someone who had known Dutta 10 years and from a pastor who has
known him since January.

In the sentencing hearing, Mr.
Tonner called Dr. Mark Laskin as a witness. Mr. Laskin, a clinical psychologist,
said he met Dutta for six sessions, treating him for anger management. He told
the court Dutta had shown good insight into his issues in that he had sought
help. He was questioned extensively by Senior Crown Counsel John Masters.

Mr. Masters told the court he would
ask for a recommendation that Dutta be deported after serving his sentence. Justice
Henderson said he would leave that question to the Immigration Department.

On Tuesday, Mr. Masters
confirmed that the Crown will appeal the sentence as too len


  1. Lenient – is the mildest word to apply to the sentence. And can he be deported BEFORE the sentence begins?Why should Cayman pay for his time in prison?

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