In Grand Court this week, Waylon Timothy Rivers pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter in the death of his father, Timothy Rivers, in North Side on June 8, 2018.
Rivers, who was 19 at the time of the incident, entered his plea on Tuesday. Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Candia James-Malcolm indicated that the plea was acceptable and the matter could be set for sentence. She said the defence had submitted a basis of plea and the Crown agreed to it.
On Thursday, however, Justice Timothy Owen raised several questions and he asked the prosecution and defence for input.
He described the defendant as a man of 19 who, throughout his life, had been abused by his father and who had witnessed his mother’s abuse by his father. He said the fatal stabbing followed “a sudden loss of control” and “rage”, in circumstances accepted by the Crown.
Nobody detailed those circumstances, but Justice Owen added that there were other issues to consider, such as the defendant’s history of epilepsy and his use of ganja. He noted that Crown and defence also accepted that the son loved his father. He never intended to kill him, but he wanted the father to stop saying what he was saying at the time.
The judge suggested that the abuse to which the son was subjected was akin to ‘battered wife syndrome’. Previously, Justice Owen had commented that the plea was effectively on the basis of provocation.
The question he wanted answers to about Rivers was, “What was his state of mind on the day he killed his father?”
Defence counsel John Ryder, QC, instructed by local attorney Prathna Bodden, said there were medical reports that had been prepared when Rivers’s fitness to plead was being questioned. He submitted that the case was one of a “high degree of provocation”.
Ryder advised that a psychological report had concluded that Rivers was fit to plead, but it did not address any question of diminished responsibility.
Justice Owen noted that he was scheduled to leave Cayman the next day. It was agreed that the matter would be brought before him before his departure so that arrangements could be made for the next step of the sentencing process.