Community service for attempted manslaughter

POSTED: 04/19/12 12:42 PM

St. Maarten – Gary Christopher Alphonse, 20, found himself unexpectedly under attack on January 11 of this year, but he ended up in court yesterday on a charge of attempted manslaughter. The court sentenced him to a 1-year conditional prison sentence, 2 years of probation and 240 hours of community service.

A man nicknamed Bunji was involved in a fight with another man near Alphonse’s house. When Bunji’s victim escaped from the fight, he turned his anger on Alphonse by throwing stones at him. A fight followed, in spite of the fact that one witness attempted to defuse the situation.
Bunji and Alphonse started a wrestling match, and fell to the ground. When bystanders pulled the defendant off Bunji, the latter was bleeding profusely. He had been stabbed several times with a pair of scissors. One stab wound pierced his lungs.
Alphonse denied in court that he had pulled the scissors from his trousers to stab his victim, but witness statements contradicted this.

Prosecutor mr. Bart Den Hartigh considered it fortunate that there had been so many witnesses, because the statements of victim and defendant did not tell the whole truth.
“Not a single witness had stated that Bunji had the scissors. It is true that the victim sought the confrontation and that the defendant had the right to defend himself. But when you grab a pair of scissors – that is not self-defense anymore. The victim sustained a perforated lung; this could have caused his death. This is attempted manslaughter. The victim is also to blame, but the reaction with the scissors was disproportionate.”

The prosecutor demanded a 1-year conditional prison sentence, with 2 years of probation and 240 hours of community service.
Attorney mr. Shaira Bommel maintained her client’s call on self-defense.
“It is probable that Bunji had the scissors; he also had a machete when he attacked the other man. My client reacted out of fear and in panic. He had the right to defend himself. He did not have to wait until he was attacked.”

Judge mr. Monique Keppels took some time to read over all the witness statements.
“In all statements I read that you are being pulled off Bunji and that he was bleeding. You were on top of him. Only you state that Bunji was on top of you. Not one witness saw that the victim had scissors. This started with defense on your side, but when the situation turned you were the attacker. I consider attempted manslaughter proven. I follow the prosecutor’s demand, though in general attempted manslaughter carries a heavier penalty. I take the circumstances of the case into account.”

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