David Andrew Bodden was sentenced to three years in prison for cutting the throat of another man who he claimed was threatening his life.
In passing the sentence for wounding last week, Justice Charles Quin told Bodden he could not take the law into his own hands.
Bodden was found guilty after trial earlier this year, but the same jury found him not guilty of the more serious charges of attempted murder and wounding with intent. The injured man, Blake Barrell, faces charges that include threats to kill Bodden.
Justice Quin said he accepted Bodden’s evidence that he was threatened on more than one occasion in a very serious way. “But the defendant cannot take the law into his own hands,” he said. “Should everyone begin acting in like manner, it would lead to a state of violent lawlessness and anarchy.”
The Crown had agreed that Bodden was subjected to serious provocation, and to a greater degree than normally expected. The court heard that on June 8, 2015, Barrell had gone to Cruz Lane in George Town with Jose Sanchez, who allegedly fired some shots. Two days later, the men attended Bodden’s workplace and threats were allegedly made against Bodden.
Bodden asked police for help and assisted officers in their investigation. On June 16, 2015, Bodden was taking officers to interview some witnesses who were willing to assist. On the way, Bodden’s car passed Barrell’s car and Barrell pointed his finger “like a gun” at Bodden, who then turned his car around to chase Barrell’s car and rammed it twice.
The incident occurred on Fort Street near the Admiral Building in downtown George Town. Barrell got out of this car and ran; Bodden chased him with a scalpel in his hand. Bodden caught Barrell and cut his throat with the scalpel. The officers who had been following Bodden intervened, with Detective Constable Junior Durrant restraining Bodden and Sgt. Charmaine Dalhouse transporting Barrell to the hospital.
Had it not been for the quick thinking and quick actions of Sergeant Dalhouse and the expertise of the doctors, Barrell would not be alive today, Justice Quin commented.
Barrell had sustained two wounds – a laceration to the neck extending from right to left, and an extension of the neck wound to the left side of his chest, with a combined length of 7-8 inches. Without surgical treatment, he probably would have bled to death, the court heard. In a victim impact statement, he said he still had a problem turning his head from side to side; he wears high-neck T-shirts to conceal the scars on his neck, the judge summarized.
The aggravating features included the fact that the incident occurred in broad daylight at a time when office workers were coming and going during the lunch hour, Justice Quin noted. Bodden was on bail at the time for another matter and had previous convictions. A social inquiry report prepared after the trial indicated that Bodden was still adamant that he had protected himself and he expressed no remorse.
In mitigation, attorney Amelia Fosuhene pointed out that there was no premeditation – Bodden never expected to run into Barrell on that day. Further, Bodden was in the course of assisting police. She said Bodden felt he had done everything he could to deal with the situation and was distraught and terrified. As to lack of remorse, Ms. Fosuhene submitted it was hard to feel remorse for someone who wanted to see you dead.