Justin Kyle Jackson, 18, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment on Wednesday after admitting that he had stabbed a man six times, with two of the wounds described as life-threatening.
Jackson was 17 when he committed the offense of wounding with intent to cause serious bodily harm. An aggravating feature was that he was on probation at the time for carrying an offensive weapon – a knife with a three-inch blade.
The incident occurred outside a George Town bar in the early hours of May 5, 2016.
In Grand Court this week, Justice Paul Worsley summed up the case as presented by Crown counsel Greg Walcolm. He said the wounding was aggravated by the fact that it took place at night in a public place.
The victim was a 30-year-old man who had attended a West Bay Road bar with a girlfriend and cousin. At this first bar, the man saw Jackson and his friends, who were making threatening gestures toward him. The man believed that Jackson, whom he knew, and his group were armed, but did not see any weapons. He left and went to the George Town bar.
“Sadly, you were to meet up again coincidentally at another premises,” the judge commented.
At the second bar, Jackson and his friends continued to make the threatening gestures. When the man stepped outside toward the end of the evening, there was a brief exchange of words between them. Jackson then threw a bottle with force and it hit the man in his head. The incident was captured on CCTV.
When the man approached him, Jackson took a knife from his pocket. There was a tussle and a security guard stepped in, but by that time Jackson had inflicted six stab wounds.
One wound punctured the man’s lung, causing it to collapse. Another nicked the side of his jugular vein. “Had that gone deeper, he would have died and you would be facing a murder charge,” the judge told Jackson.
He said it was thanks to the skill of the doctors at the hospital that the injured man made a full recovery and was discharged on May 9. The injuries were described as serious but not permanent.
Defense attorney James Stenning asked the court to consider Jackson’s youth and the difficulties he had faced as “a child in an adult prison.” He noted that Jackson had been in custody since his arrest and did not turn 18 until July.
Mr. Stenning also asked for full credit for the defendant’s guilty plea. He asked the court to consider Jackson’s slight stature compared with the complainant, who could have walked away after being hit by the bottle. Instead, he had advanced toward Jackson, who drew his knife to deter retaliation.
The attorney referred to details of his client’s difficult early life and added that the defendant was the father of a young girl whose life he wanted to be part of.
Justice Worsley echoed what other judges have said about knife crimes being too prevalent in Cayman. Those who carry knives risk having those knives turned on them, he observed; they also run the risk of going to prison for a very long time.
With a starting point of nine years, the judge gave Jackson a discount for his age and guilty plea, for a total of six years. Jackson had breached probation by carrying the knife and for this offense the judge imposed six months to be served consecutively.
Jackson is to receive credit for time served.