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Judicial CP - July 2004

Corpun file 15491

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 31 July 2004

Cutlass bandits lose appeal ... 30 years for robbing, chopping school chum

By Darren Bahaw

TWO MEN who mercilessly chopped a man during a robbery at La Brea four years ago have lost their appeals against conviction and sentence.

Kevin Edmund, 26, of Princes Town, and Dike Williams, 28, of Pt Fortin, were each sentenced to a total of 30 years in jail and ordered to receive 15 strokes with the birch for repeatedly chopping Nick Richards and robbing him of just over $1,000.

"The Court is equally mindful of the high incidence of violent crimes in the society today. This was an unprovoked and unwarranted attack which resulted in particularly severe injuries. In our view the offences justified punishment of the utmost severity," the Appeal Court ruled in the judgment delivered on Thursday.

Edmund and Williams, the Court noted, "ought to consider themselves very fortunate that the sentences were made to run concurrently".

On December 19, 2002, they were found guilty of wounding with Richards with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm and robbery with violence.

Richards, 30, a fruit vendor, of Pt D'or, La Brea was attacked and almost chopped to death on February 15, 2000. He was chopped across his mouth, above his chest, in the region of his heart, and about his limbs as he tried to fend off the blows.

The victim said he knew both his attackers from La Brea and they went to school together. He said the men stopped chopping him after a woman called out saying, "You all go kill the boy".

They were subsequently held and charged with attempting to murder Richards but the jury returned a guilty verdict on the lesser count of wounding with intent.

Attorney Dana Seetahal, who appeared for both Edmund and Williams, argued that the Criminal Procedure Act precluded a jury on an indictment for attempted murder from returning a verdict of wounding with intent.

But Appeal Court judges Justices Roger Hamel-Smith, Rolston Nelson and Stanley John, said that they were satisfied that the alternative count was caught by the provisions of Section 30 (3) of the Act and the verdict of the jury was a proper one.

Seetahal also argued that the trial judge did not put the accused defence fairly or in a balanced manner and failed to analyse the evidence of Williams's alibi and relate it to the case for the defence. The Appeal did not agree with those complaints.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard argued the appeal on behalf of the State.

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