Wife killer found 10-year manslaughter sentence severe - EntornoInteligente
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Appellate Court dismissed appeal MANSLAUGHTER accused Kissoon Wazar Alli who stabbed his wife to death in 1967 and was sentenced to death after pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter appealed against the sentence as severe.

But the Court of Appeal constituted by Chancellor E.V. Luckhoo, and Justices of Appeal Guya Persaud and P.A. Cummings dismissed the appeal and refused leave to appeal to the Privy Council.

The facts of the case disclosed that the appellant was indicted for murder, but following the Crown’s willingness to accept a plea to the lesser count of manslaughter, the trial judge permitted this to be done, although, on the depositions there was no indication of any circumstances to justify the acceptance of such a plea.

The appellant was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. In his plea to mitigation, counsel said inter alia that the appellant had suffered great mental anguish.

The appellant appealed on the ground that the trial judge had made no allowance in his sentence for the fact that he had pleaded guilty and had not contested any issue before the court.

The Appellate Court held  (i) a plea of guilty does not necessarily mean that the prisoner genuinely regrets his act;

((ii) if a sentence appears to be proper and appropriate, it matters not that something was taken into account which ought not to have been or something was not taken into account which ought to have been.

(iii)          on the facts, as appeared in the depositions, there was little, if anything, the judgment said, to mitigate the crime which had been committed, and in any event, if there was remorse the judge’s memorandum of sentence showed that he must have had it in mind.

In his judgment, Chancellor Luckhoo noted that there is an application in this appeal for leave to appeal against sentence on the ground that judge failed to give adequate consideration to the appellant’s plea of guilty to manslaughter. He was on a charge of murder when the court following the Crown’s willingness to accept that plea, permitted this to be done.

The appellant was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for what could well be described as a bestial and dastardly act in stabbing his reputed wife at least twice with a knife , which must have been at least 1 ½” in diameter, in the region of the heart and liver, puncturing the apex of the left ventricle, and the lobe of the liver.

The Chancellor went on to say that on the depositions the learned trial judge on the authority of R v Soanes {1948} 32 C.A.R. 136 would have been entitled to refuse to allow the appellant to plead guilty to manslaughter because there was no indication on the deposition that circumstances existed to justify the acceptance of that plea.

In other words, no evidence appeared on the record from which it could be said that the deceased had done any act to the appellant which would and did cause in him a sudden and temporary loss of self-control rendering him so subject to passion as to make him for the moment not master of his mind.

The Chancellor recalled that Counsel for the appellant had cited the case of R. v. de Haan {1967} 3 All  E.R. 618, as an authority for the contention that the trial judge had not made any allowance in his sentence for the fact that the appellant had pleaded guilty and had not contested any issue before the court.

He explained that there can be no doubt that credit can be given when a person does plead guilty to the fact that that person is facing up to realities and shows some signs of repentance to justify a reduction from what would otherwise have been the sentence.

The Chancellor went on to state “In this case the appellant had gone to his mother-in-law. Seupallie, for lunch, during which he had imbibed a certain quantity of drink. The evidence reveals that three persons drank a quarter bottle of rum. After having his lunch he returned to his home with his wife and children.

“Seupallie was on her verandah not far from the appellant’s home when she heard talking. Presumably, there was a quarrel.  She then saw her daughter go out on her verandah and the appellant followed her saying that he was going to kill her, whereupon she said to him “kill me nah.”  He then plunged a knife into her body which Seupallie saw used more than once. Soon after the daughter fell to the floor and died. Seupallie shouted for help and one Paul Benjamin and another went to the scene.

There was no evidence that the appellant’s wife had in any way provoked this grave attack on her. Paul Benjamin admitted that he took a piece of wood and he struck the appellant on his head to disarm him because at that point of time he had a cutlass in his hand.

The appellant gave up the cutlass and the knife and told people about the place that he had killed his wife and he wanted to be taken to the police station. At the police station, he repeated that statement – that he had killed his wife. He made a written statement to the police in which he said, “Ah stab she wid the knife pun she left side because Paul Benjamin, she brother lashed me with a Bellnah pan me head.”

Paul Benjamin, on the evidence at the preliminary inquiry, was not at the appellant’s home at the time when he stabbed his wife. He went there afterwards”, the Chancellor said and asked

“In this setting then, can this court say that that sentence of 10 years was excessive? Or was it not an appropriate sentence?

“On the facts as appeared on the depositions, there was little, if anything in mitigation of this crime committed. The appellant had had the benefit of his

plea to manslaughter accepted which was an extraordinary advantage in the circumstances. I will assume that there was genuine remorse. Surely, the trial judge must have had this in his mind when he said in his memorandum of sentence

“Having agreed in all the circumstances of this case, the character of the defendant and with the hope of effecting a reformation on the defendant…I imposed a sentence of 10 years.

“In any event, in this case, it is immaterial whether the appellant’s remorse did or did not enter into the judge’s consideration when imposing sentence, as the sentence on the facts was appropriate and a proper one.

“It is the judgment of this court then that the application for leave to appeal be refused. The appeal is dismissed and the conviction and sentence affirmed.”


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