Angry prisoner injures fellow inmate with cup of hot tea

POSTED: 10/20/11 1:57 PM

Court sentences attacker to 3 months

St. Maarten – Calniff M.C. Williams sits at his own request and for his own safety in isolation in the Pointe Blanche prison since March, but that did not protect him against harassment from Florentin Jerome, a 19-year-old Martinois who is serving a 10-month sentence for a series of burglaries.

On June 24 the situation spun out of control. Williams, who is serving a 15-year sentence for the December 21, 2008 murder of Basilio Bruno, aka hairdresser Eddy, was finally fed up with remarks by Jerome like, “You killed your girlfriend” and “faggot.” When his tormentor passed his cell that day, Williams threw a cup of hot tea at him.

Jerome sustained second degree burn wounds to his face, his neck and his shoulder. Since the incident, the harassment has stopped, but Jerome filed a complaint and yesterday Williams was in court to answer to the charges.

Williams told the court that prison guards could have easily prevented the incident from happening, because he had complained on numerous occasions about the harassment.

“Jerome is a troublemaker in the prison I am not saying this to justify what I did, because I should be able to contain myself. I do feel regret,” he told the court.

Williams asked for a transfer to the prison in Bonaire to get away from the constant harassment, but so far this transfer has not materialized. The prison management punished Williams by taking away the water cooker from his cell.

Judge mr. M. Keppels read from the file that there had been a discussion between Jerome and Williams the day before the attack.

“You told him, when I get you, you will see what will happen,” but Williams denied having said that.

Prosecutor mr. D.M. Benammar said that, given the fact that Williams had thrown the tea from a distance of about one meter, that the defendant had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to Jerome.

“The defendant is voluntarily in isolation because he is unable to make a stand for himself in the prison. He has acted out of anger and he cannot call on force majeure.”

mr. Benammar demanded 6 months imprisonment for the attack.

Attorney mr. J.J. Rogers said that there is no justification for what his client did.

“He is serving 15 years for the murder of hairdresser Eddy, something he says he did not do. His appeal is on November 2, and he had been in isolation since March.”

The harassment at his client’s address whereby Jerome kept saying that Williams killed his girlfriend stems, Rogers said, “from the fact that everybody knows that hairdresser Eddy was gay.” He said that his client cannot work or take part in social programs in the prison for safety reasons, and that he is also not receiving any visitors from his native St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Jerome is a troublemaker and my client has complained about him on several occasions. In spite of this, guards let Jerome into the section where my client is detained and they did not do anything about the situation. There was a psychological war going on there.”

Rogers said that Jerome entered Williams’s section to look for trouble and that his client did not intentionally cause grievous bodily harm. Jerome will completely recover from the injuries he sustained, according to a doctor’s report.

Judge mr. M. Keppels withdrew to think about the case; when she returned to the courtroom she told the defendant that she had found no legal and convincing proof for causing grievous bodily harm, because Jerome will completely recover from his injuries and sentenced Williams to 3 months imprisonment for simple ill-treatment.

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