Judge imposes two-and-a-half years for wounding
David Mac Bodden was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment on Friday for wounding a fellow party-goer at the Jacques Scott compound in the early hours of Dec. 13, 2014.
Crown counsel Candia James said the victim was stabbed while trying to calm Bodden down after he started arguing with a cook at a nearby jerk stand. Defense attorney John Furniss said Bodden had started drinking around 2 p.m. and did not remember much about the incident that occurred some 12 hours later.
Ms. James said the victim/complainant observed Bodden arguing with the cook and demanding food while the cook refused him service because of his belligerent behavior.
“The complainant decided to intervene to calm the situation. He pleaded with the defendant to calm down. The defendant continued to argue, stating that he did not like Jamaicans. He then stabbed the complainant to his left side,” Ms. James summarized.
Bodden likely would have stabbed him again, but the man was able to grab his hand and stop him. Officers on patrol nearby grabbed Bodden away from his victim, who by this time was bleeding profusely.
The man was taken by ambulance to the Cayman Islands Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery for a punctured lung and severe interior bleeding.
The initial charge against Bodden was wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. On Jan. 16 he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful wounding. The maximum penalty for this offense is seven years.
Hearing that Bodden had previous convictions, Justice Michael Mettyear observed that this would be an aggravating feature, as would the fact that the stabbing appeared to have been racially motivated. “He said he didn’t like the cook because he was Jamaican and then he says to this man [the victim] when he rebuffed his help that he was Jamaican. He didn’t like Jamaicans,” he summarized.
Mr. Furniss urged the court not to place too much weight on the racial overtones of the incident. “I don’t think that was the cause of the fight. I think the problem [Bodden] had was that someone intervened,” the attorney said. He suggested that Bodden didn’t like what was happening and that was perhaps more of a factor than the nationality of the person who did intervene.
Justice Mettyear pointed out that under U.K. law, racial aggravation can be a factor, while a racially motivated assault is a specific offense.
Mr. Furniss emphasized Bodden’s remorse and early guilty plea. He accepted that the knife was an aggravating feature. “He just gets into this argument and then, unfortunately, because he has the knife – which is so often the problem – he has the knife and then he uses the knife.”
Since being in prison, Bodden has accepted that once he starts drinking he can’t stop; he has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in prison and has kept busy working different jobs, Mr. Furniss advised.
In passing sentence, Justice Mettyear told Bodden that the victim had been trying to help him. “He was trying to seek to calm you down so that the police wouldn’t be called … but in your drunken condition you couldn’t see the sense of what he was saying.”
The stabbing could had been more serious, he noted. “You could have killed him. Think of what you would have been facing then.”
Justice Mettyear said Bodden was extremely lucky that Mr. Furniss had persuaded the Crown to drop the more serious charge, which could have resulted in a longer sentence.
Cayman’s maximum of seven years for this offense is more than the U.K. maximum of five years, he said. “I believe it’s partly because of the recognition that there is a great deal of violent crime here, including the carrying of weapons.”
With a starting point of three years, Justice Mettyear gave Bodden a full one-third discount for his guilty plea. He then adjusted the resulting two years to two-and-a-half because of the aggravating features.
Ms. James said the victim’s medical expenses totaled $8,911.24. The judge said he would not make a compensation order because of the length of Bodden’s custodial sentence.