A man serving six years for robbery and wounding plus one year for escaping from prison has had another two years added to his sentences.
Chadwick Bradford Dale, 25, pleaded guilty in Grand Court on Monday to wounding a fellow prisoner in September 2014. Justice Michael Mettyear sentenced him to two years, consecutive to the sentences he is serving, saying it was the least he could impose.
Dale had pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm; a jury was selected and trial was to have started on Monday. But the injured inmate, whose wound to his side required 12 sutures to close, refused to give evidence.
Trial could have proceeded with the testimony of the guards who witnessed the incident and with physical evidence. However, Dale then asked to plead again so that he could admit to the less serious offense of wounding.
Crown counsel Scott Wainwright said Dale and the other inmate were in the “high risk” unit at the prison. The other inmate was released from his cell to take a shower and, in order to reach the shower, he had to pass Dale’s cell. As he passed, he felt something sharp sticking into his side. He looked and saw Dale holding something white in his hand and saying words to the effect, “I’ll kill everyone up in here.”
The injured man was taken to hospital and treated, but he refused to cooperate with the investigation. In Dale’s cell, officers found a broken fluorescent light tube with bloodstains on the end of it. The blood was determined to be a match with the injured man.
Dale told investigators he had little memory of that day, but he accepted that he had mashed up his cell and the broken light tube was in his cell. He also acknowledged some disputes with the other man.
Defense attorney Crister Brady asked the court to consider the various challenges Dale had, including the fact that at the time he was on 23-hour lockdown. This apparently had brought early childhood mental problems to the surface. Dale was described as “going off” at times and guards knew that he was mentally unstable “more often than not.”
Mr. Brady noted that Dale and his victim had in some respects mended certain bridges between them. He agreed with the judge that the injured man’s unwillingness to give evidence against Dale meant that he did not want to cause him any further trouble.
Justice Mettyear said the offense was serious because it was committed in prison and with a weapon. The injury was not trivial, but had turned out to have no lasting consequences except for a scar. The injured man seemed uninterested in pursuing the matter.
“It seems therefore likely that he does have a degree of sympathy for you and a degree of forgiveness,” the judge told Dale.
“That and your plea of guilty and the fact that the injury is not as bad as it might have been allows me to be more merciful than what would otherwise be the case.”
With a discount for the guilty plea, even though it was late, and the mitigation urged by Mr. Brady, the judge said two years was the least sentence he could impose “for this nasty offense.”