Court acquits defendant of attempted manslaughter

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GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance acquitted Carlos Adolphus I. yesterday morning of stabbing am man during a fight at the High Up bar in Simpson Bay on October 22, 2010. The prosecution demanded a 4-year prison sentence for attempted manslaughter, but the court denied it.

The 32-year old defendant was involved in a fight at the High Up bar whereby someone pulled a knife. From the court hearing it remained unclear who had the knife and who used it against whom, but the defendant maintained that he had grabbed the knife from someone who wanted to attack him, and that afterwards he had run away.

Shortly after the stabbing, police arrested the defendant and confiscated the knife he had in his possession. However, an examination of the knife by the Dutch Forensic Institute NFI showed that the blood on the knife’s blade and handle only contained the defendant’s DNA, and none of the victim.

Judge Maria Paulides noted that it is annoying that the many witnesses that had been heard in this investigation were mainly acquaintances of the victim.

Prosecutor Nanouk Lemmers said nevertheless that there was enough evidence. Both the victim and a witness had stated that the defendant had made a movement towards the victim’s upper body and that nobody else had done that. “The only conclusion is that the defendant stabbed the victim with a sharp object, but apparently not with the knife that was found in him. Based on the complaint by the victim and the witness statement there is no other explanation than that the defendant stabbed him.”

The prosecutor considered attempted manslaughter proved and demanded 4 years of imprisonment.

Attorney Shaira Bommel said that the evidence has to be legal and convincing. “The prosecutor says that something else must have been used to stab the victim, but no other weapon has been found and my client has been arrested shortly after the incident.”

Bommel said that her client had been attacked in the bar for no obvious reason and that he had spotted a gleaming object that turned out to be the knife. He had grabbed it, injuring himself in the process, and ran away,

“The victim says that he has not seen that my client stabbed him and there is no proof that the injury has been caused by the knife. It cannot be excluded that someone else stabbed the victim.”

Bommel asked the court to acquit her client.

Prosecutor Lemmers countered that chances that the victim had been stabbed by someone else are non-existent.

“I did not stab anyone; they attacked me,” the defendant said at the end of the proceedings.

Judge Maria Paulides concluded that it has not become clear what exactly happened. “We only have the statement of the victim and one witness that the defendant stabbed him. The witness was heard five days after the incident and therefore the court does not exclude that others have influenced his statement. That warrants a critical assessment. Only friends and acquaintances of the victim have been heard as witnesses and there is only one whose statement supports that of the victim. Another witness supports the statement of the defendant.”

The court concluded that there is sufficient doubt about the defendant’s guilt and it acquitted him of the charges.

The defendant has been in custody since the end of October of last year; the court terminated his custody yesterday.

Source TODAY NEWSPAPER