Judge urges security measures in bars
Security guards in bars and nightclubs should be given some form of training in dealing with altercations, Justice Charles Quin said last week after sentencing security guard Kenroy Leonard Rowe to six years’ imprisonment.
Rowe was found guilty by a jury last month of wounding a would-be patron with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the Energy Bar and Lounge on Shedden Road on March 21, 2014.
After reviewing the circumstances in which Rowe stabbed the man with a flick knife he had confiscated from another patron, the judge made a further suggestion. “[T]he establishment should have had a policy that, as soon as knives or any other offensive weapons are confiscated, they should be put in a secure safe and not be left in the hands of security officers, as in this case, who then may be tempted to use them in fights of this nature.”
Justice Quin also noted that Rowe’s senior colleague was present at the scene, “yet he had done nothing to assist the defendant who had gone too far in responding to what the defense submits was significant provocation.”
In his summary of the facts, Justice Quin referred to what the jury had been shown by way of footage from the closed circuit television system at the lounge.
The complainant/victim and a friend went to the premises and the friend went into the nightclub area. The complainant went up to Rowe, who had the job of searching patrons before they entered the nightclub. It could be seen that the complainant voluntarily agreed to be searched until Rowe attempted to search the man’s groin area.
After the complainant objected and was not allowed to enter the nightclub, he started to leave. His friend then came out and intervened. The CCTV showed Rowe and the friend entering into what appeared to be a heated conversation. The complainant tried to get his friend to leave, but the arguing continued.
The CCTV showed Rowe pushing the friend away and the friend bumping into the complainant, who then threw a punch at Rowe.
It was then that Rowe took out the flick knife and charged at the complainant, who had fallen backward onto the ground. The CCTV showed Rowe stabbing the man while he was on the ground. Rowe then returned the knife to its owner and left the club instead of waiting for police.
The stab wound was under the heart and the man began to lose a lot of blood, Justice Quin related. He began to lose consciousness, and police who arrived at the scene immediately took him to hospital. Doctors considered the injury serious, and Justice Quin commended the police for their quick action.
Crown counsel Toyin Salako had told the court during an earlier hearing that the complainant had more than $10,000 in medical bills, which his insurance company had declined to cover.
Justice Quin said, “It is clear from a review of the facts of this case that the complainant’s injuries were not of his making. In fact, it is clear from the evidence that the complainant was trying to leave the scene and was even trying to remove the third party from the scene.
“The court hopes that if these facts are made known to the insurance company, it might reconsider its decision not to cover the complainant’s medical bills, incurred as a result of this serious assault on him,” he said. Defense attorney John Furniss said Rowe had no means to pay the bills because he had been unemployed since the incident and had been supported by friends.
A man of previous good character, Rowe recognized he would have to pay a high price for an incident that had lasted no more than 30 seconds, Mr. Furniss remarked.