No punishment for fatal stabbing

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Today Newspaper Court Story

GREAT BAY – A 42-year old man who fatally stabbed Miguel Garcia Fabian on July 5 of last year, and who was acquitted in the Court in First Instance, saw his acquittal confirmed by the Common Court of Justice this week. The prosecution had appealed the acquittal and solicitor-General Ton van der Schans demanded 12 years of imprisonment during the trial on May 12.

Terry Webster
Terry Webster

The Court in First Instance ruled in December of last year that the defendant, Terry T.C.W., had acted in self-defense under emotional duress. While the court considered the charges proven – W. did stab his victim to death –it dropped all charges and ordered the defendant’s immediate release.

The fight between the two men was the result of festering disagreements. They both lived in the same apartment building on Illidge Road. When the later victim found out that W. had called the police on him, he stabbed him with a knife in and near his neck. W. reacted by grabbing a knife and stabbing back, to defend himself, his pregnant fiancé and his 2-year old daughter.

Fabian fled, but W. chased him through the staircase outside. The whole drama took not more than one minute.

That the defendant acted out of revenge has not been made plausible, the December court ruling states. During his first interrogation, W. made statements that suggested such a motive. But the court explained those statements as “an attempt to rationalize his far-reaching actions.”

The court ruled that the defendant actions were “the immediate result of severe emotional distress caused by the attack on his life by the victim. Though the court ruled that W. exceeded the limits of necessary defense” it declared him not punishable and dropped all charges.

The appeals court dismissed the solicitor-general’s position that this was not a case of self-defense. “The defendant attacked the victim after the latter’s attack had finished. The defendant went back into his apartment to grab a knife, and then pursued the victim to stab him,” van der Schans reasoned.

The appeals court saw it differently: the defendant grabbed for a knife behind him after he had been stabbed himself. “He stabbed his attacker so fast by taking a few steps forward, that it cannot be labeled as an end to the self-defense situation.”