Jury returns unlawful wounding verdict in throat-cutting case

Police officers were out in force after the daytime attack in downtown George Town June 17, 2015. - Photo: Brent Fuller

A jury of three men and four women found David Andrew Bodden, 39, guilty of unlawful wounding, returning a series of verdicts on Wednesday afternoon.

They found him not guilty of the more serious charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Justice Charles Quin continued Bodden’s bail with a 24-hour curfew and electronic monitor until sentencing on May 4.

The judge reviewed the evidence in the case on Wednesday morning. Bodden was charged with attempting to murder Blake Barrell around midday on June 16, 2015, on Fort Street in downtown George Town.

There was no disagreement that Mr. Barrell’s injury was serious, the judge pointed out. He had sustained a laceration across his throat and down his chest. The judge said he thought it was accepted by both sides that Mr. Barrell would have died from loss of blood and inability to breathe if it had not been for the quick action of a police officer who drove him to hospital and the surgery that followed.

The prosecution’s case, conducted by senior Crown counsel Elisabeth Lees, was that Bodden intended to cut Mr. Barrell’s throat.

The defense, conducted by attorney Amelia Fosuhene, contended that the injury occurred accidentally – that Bodden wanted only to hold Mr. Barrell until police arrived. She accepted that Bodden had a scalpel blade in his right hand when he chased Mr. Barrell and the two men then grappled. But Bodden is left-handed; if he had wanted to kill he would have put the scalpel in his left hand, she submitted.

Justice Quin said that when considering Bodden’s state of mind at the time, jurors should take into account incidents that occurred on June 8 and June 10.

Bodden gave evidence that he had been told Mr. Barrell and another man had gone to Cruz Lane in George Town looking for him on the night of June 8 and three shots were fired.

He called 911 anonymously that night to report the incident. The next day he went to the area, found spent shells, and called police. He said he told police who the men were and he wanted them arrested.

A defense witness named Mr. Barrell and the other man as responsible for the firearm discharge. On June 10, the same two men and others came to Bodden’s workplace and threatened him. A defense witness told the court he was there and witnesses what happened.

Before the jury retired to deliberate, the judge set out for the jurors the different verdicts they could reach.

The first charge was attempted murder. If the jury was satisfied the Crown had proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Bodden intended to kill Mr. Barrell, they would find him guilty.

If they were not sure, they would find him not guilty and go on to consider the second charge, wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Jurors had to be sure that Bodden intended to cause serious harm. Otherwise, they would find him not guilty.

There was a lesser charge of unlawful wounding, the judge continued. It was the Crown’s case that Bodden had the scalpel blade in his hand and ran after Mr. Barrell; he knew he had the blade and foresaw that injury could occur, but he was reckless and carried on regardless.

The offense of unlawful wounding does not require specific intent, jurors were told.