Suspended sentence handed down for beach machete attack

A defendant who admitted hitting a man in the head with a machete three times was given a suspended sentence on Wednesday.

Jameil Livingston Rankine, 22, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, but Justice Robin McMillan suspended that term for two years.

Rankine said he attacked the victim after seeing the mother of his child with the man on a George Town beach in the early hours of Friday, Aug. 21 this year.

The victim, 25, sustained three lacerations – one to his left cheek, which required four sutures, one to the top of the head, and one to the forehead. The doctor’s report indicated that the injuries were not serious and not likely to be permanent, except for scarring.

The victim reported having pains in the area of the injuries and said he could no longer braid his hair as he used to because of the site of the injuries. His medical bills totalled $878.04 for treatment, the court heard.

Senior Crown counsel Tanya Lobban and defense attorney Martha Rankine agreed on aggravating factors, including that when the defendant began the attack, he had continued to act aggressively after his child’s mother and a security guard who was in the vicinity tried to intervene. Rankine was under the influence of alcohol at the time and had expressed an intention to inflict more harm than occurred.

Ms. Rankine also spoke in mitigation, emphasizing that the defendant had no previous criminal convictions. He had apologized to the victim for what had happened and expressed remorse when interviewed by a probation officer. He was willing to pay compensation. After the attack, he surrendered the weapon and left the scene.

“This act was out of character, [committed] in the heat of the moment and jealousy and simply bad judgment,” Ms. Rankine told the court.

She pointed out that the risk of Rankine re-offending was low and the writer of a social inquiry report had recommended a suspended sentence and probation order.

Justice McMillan said he considered that the aggravating and mitigating factors were balanced. With 18 months as a starting point, he gave a discount of one-third for the early guilty plea.

“You’re very fortunate that the injuries were not greater,” he told the defendant.

He decided to impose a suspended sentence supervision order – 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years – with the defendant directed to complete an anger management course and a men’s non-violence program. He is to be of good behavior for the next two years and take part in any other program required by his supervising officer.

Compensation was to be paid within 28 days.

“The court on this occasion is showing a degree of leniency,” Justice McMillan told Rankine. “You are at a threshold in your young life and if you choose the wrong road, it will have dark consequences for you.”