Alcohol and medication did not mix for a man who ended up in custody after chasing a police officer and a neighbor while wielding a knife.
Robustiano Torrez Martinez, 69, was sentenced in Summary Court on Monday after pleading guilty to two counts of causing harassment, alarm or distress on Dec. 28, 2016 at his Bodden Town residence.
Crown counsel Aliyah McCarthy told Magistrate Valdis Foldats that a female police officer responded to a report of child abuse at an address in Bodden Town. The officer was met by the defendant’s spouse, who said it was her husband who had called police, but there was no child abuse going on. Martinez, who had been in the yard, at that point ran into the house and came back out with a knife that he was holding to his throat.
The officer shouted at him to drop the knife. Instead, he held it over his head in a stabbing motion and began to chase the officer around the yard. She called for assistance and a neighbor came to help. Martinez then began chasing the neighbor, who jumped over a fence to escape.
The officer shouted again for Martinez to drop the knife and he started to chase her again. “She was in fear for her life,” Ms. McCarthy said. Then police sirens could be heard as back-up personnel responded to the officer’s call. At that point, Martinez ran back into the house with the knife and he locked himself in. The officers were eventually able to arrest him and take him into custody.
The neighbor said Martinez had been agitated and upset, and he thought the man had been drinking.
Defense attorney Martha Rankine said Martinez wanted to apologize to the court, the police officer and the neighbor for any distress he might have caused. “He realizes his conduct was uncalled for and out of the ordinary,” she said. “He was on medication and may have taken more than prescribed, along with a quantity of liquor …. The combination may have had an adverse impact on his conduct.”
Ms. Rankine said her client had been in custody until mid-March and asked the court to give credit for that time served. She pointed out that the neighbor had suffered no financial or psychological damage and had no fear of remaining at the property.
The magistrate said the defendant’s behavior was so serious that he had to impose a custodial sentence to make sure the public knew such behavior could not occur.
He referred to a Court of Appeal case, in which the judges had said that knives are serious weapons and, if taken to any confrontation, could easily cause fatal consequences.
He referred to another case in which a man with a knife had threatened an officer. Police officers are entitled to go about their difficult responsibilities without such threats, he said, and they deserve the highest respect and protection from that sort of behavior. In that case a violent, drunken man had been disarmed and the officer was not injured. The sentence he received was nine months.
The magistrate set the sentence starting point at one year and raised it to 18 months because of previous convictions. He took one-third off because of Martinez’sguilty plea, resulting in a term of 12 months. Given his age, time in custody and cooperation, Martinez would benefit from a suspended sentence and strong probation conditions, the magistrate decided. He said it seemed clear that Martinez had a problem with alcohol – and maybe with prescription drugs.
For causing harassment, alarm or distress to the police officer, the magistrate imposed a sentence of one year, suspended for two years. For the same offense against the neighbor, he imposed two years probation with mandatory attendance at any program determined by the counselor. Other terms include keeping the peace, submitting to random testing, and staying out of all liquor licensed premises.