Meleton Rosales Maick, who stabbed a woman last year for no explainable reason, had his sentenced reduced on Tuesday from six years to four-and-a -half years.
Maick had been charged with attempted murder, but the Crown accepted his guilty plea to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The degree of harm caused was a basis for his appeal, as argued by attorney Crister Brady. Mr. Brady submitted that the sentence was excessive compared to other sentences in which the injuries were more serious and the matter had gone to trial.
One case he cited involved a security guard who had stabbed a patron at a nightclub. A jury found him guilty and his sentence was six years.
Mr. Brady noted another case in which a woman sustained life-threatening injuries after being stabbed by her ex-boyfriend; she spent five weeks in hospital and needed months to recuperate. That defendant pleaded guilty and received a sentence of seven years.
In Maick’s case, the wounds were not serious, Mr. Brady pointed out; the woman was treated in hospital and released the next day. Further, Maick had taken responsibility from the start, he said, and had no previous convictions.
The Court of Appeal agreed that the sentence was manifestly excessive.
Justice Dennis Morrison gave the decision after conferring with Justices John Martin and Sir Richard Field.
He began by summing up the Crown’s case.
The wounding occurred on Jan. 21, 2016, at a West Bay residence around 10 p.m. The victim had known Maick about a month. There was no relationship between them, but Maick had been coming to her father’s house as a visitor. Her own house was in the same yard.
On the day of the wounding, he brought her a bag of gifts, which she refused. He then said she should keep them for him. Later, when he returned, she was in her house with her son and his friends and Maick seemed to react negatively to this. He left, but came back when she was alone and he asked her to give him the bag. He took a knife from her kitchen and lunged at her. He put the knife to her neck and she put up her hand. The knife cut the side of her neck and the webbing between her thumb and forefinger.
The woman fell to the floor and pretended to be dead. Maick left and she was then able to call for help. Taken to hospital, she required a blood transfusion because she had lost so much blood. The injury to her neck was superficial, but there was a deep laceration to her left thumb.
Meanwhile, police officers found Maick at his own premises, hiding in a closet. He told them the devil made him do something bad, as he was drunk.
In passing sentence in Grand Court, Justice Charles Quin had taken into account the fact that the attack was completely unprovoked, distinguishing this case from the nightclub incident. Senior crown counsel Nicole Petit had called Maick’s attack on the woman unprovoked and inexplicable.
Justice Quin took as his starting point nine years and then gave Maick a one-third discount for his guilty plea.
Justice Morrison said the Court of Appeal will not disturb a sentence imposed in the court below unless it can be shown that the sentence was manifestly excessive or wrong in principle. He noted that the court just last week had upheld a sentence of five years and three months for a stabbing.
In Maick’s case, he said, the judge had used a starting point significantly outside the guidelines. The more appropriate starting point would have been six years, but the appeal court accepted as a special factor the unprovoked attack on a defenseless woman and therefore raised the starting point to seven years.
A one-third reduction for the guilty plea resulted in a sentence of four- and-a-half years. The appeal was allowed and this new sentence was substituted.