Saban sentenced for stabbing man during funeral on Statia

A 28-year old man from Saba was sentenced by the Court in Bonaire to twelve months, three of which were suspended, on three years probation, for stabbing a man during a funeral procession on St. Eustatius on March 13. Kyle Wycliffe Rawlins stood trial recently, his lawyer Marlon Hart informed The Daily Herald.

His client was charged with attempted manslaughter in stab­bing the victim with a knife in his left shoulder blade. The Court, however, did not find attempted manslaughter proven, but found the defendant guilty of inflicting severe bodily harm.

He was acquitted of mistreat­ment of a security guard in Saba after he was denied access to the premises. In this event of October 28, 2017, he had allegedly beaten and pushed a man, who was in­jured and suffered pain. He was, however, acquitted for lack of evidence.

The Prosecutor had called for a prison sentence of 16 months, four of which were to be suspend­ed, on three years’ proba­tion. The lawyer had called for his client’s full acquittal. The brawl during the fu­neral procession to Statia’s Salem cemetery caused a lot of commotion. Rawl­ins took part in the funeral procession. The 25-year ­old victim was standing alongside the road when the procession passed. He saw the suspect and ap­proached him because he feared for what the suspect was holding in his hand. He hit the suspect with an object, presumably a beer bottle, the Court said in the verdict.

Both men started to fight until a witness took Rawlins in a “headlock” and pulled him away towards a wall af­ter he saw he held a knife and that the victim’s shirt turned red. The victim sus­tained a stab wound to his back and had to be taken to Queen Beatrix Medical Centre for treatment.

There were several wit­nesses to the confronta­tion. They said the suspect was swinging a silver switch blade. After the brawl, Rawlins handed over a silver-coloured knife with a 9.5-centimetre blade to a witness, who turned the weapon, which was covered in blood, over to the police.

The Court dismissed the suspect’s statements that he was attacked first and the judge also did not lend any credibility to his statement saying that he had only swung a “brown kitchen knife” into the direction of the victim and that he had thrown the knife away at the cemetery.

None of the witnesses had said that while held in a headlock, the defendant had swung a kitchen knife to release himself, after which he had thrown the knife away, the Judge said in dismissing self-defence pleadings. By contrast, it could be ascertained that he had a silver-coloured switchblade in his posses­sion, the Court said.

In sentencing, the Court took into consideration that the victim had started the fight and had attacked the defendant with a beer bottle, whereas it could not be ascertained that such an attack was actually neces­sary.

Furthermore, the Court of First Instance considered that the defendant has not been convicted for similar facts in the past five years. Rawlins, who is currently detained in Bonaire, has filed for appeal, his lawyer said.

The Daily Herald.

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