A 54-year-old double amputee who, on Saturday, asked a former prisoner about life in prison, found out on Tuesday when he was jailed for four years.
The fact that Andrew Myers has no legs and uses a wheelchair did not prevent Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett from jailing him for inflicting a 10-centimetre deep, three-centimetre wide stab wound to his wife’s upper chest at their Buccament Bay home.
Monique Myers – Andrew’s wife for the past 27 years — detailed to the court the multiple attempts that her husband has made to injure her and his threats to end her life.
The man, who lost both of his legs because of diabetes, told the court that his wife has repeatedly told him that she would cheat on him.
Mr. Myers pleaded guilty to a charge that on Saturday, May 26, at Buccament Bay, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded his wife.
The court heard that on that day, Mr. Myers telephoned the Layou Police Station around 9:40 a.m., saying that his wife and their son were beating him.
The police responded, but found that this was not the case, but that there was an issue with the couple’s son refusing to hand over his father’s vehicle key, as Mr. Myers had requested.
The police spoke to the parties and an argument ensued between the couple.
As the police were about to leave the property, they heard Mrs. Myers calling out to them and saw her coming in their direction. They observed that the woman had an injury to her chest.
She told the police officers that her husband had stabbed her with a knife as she was passing close to his wheelchair.
The police met the defendant with the knife in his hand and had to wrestle with him to get it away from him.
Mr. Myers was arrested and taken to the Layou Police Station, but said nothing when cautioned.
Years of abuse
However, he told the court that since one of his legs was amputated two years ago, his wife started giving him problems telling him that she would “take man on my head” (cheat on him) and that she is only his wife “on paper”.
Mr. Myers lost his other leg last year, and he told the court that since 2018 began, his wife has been giving him problems.
At this point, the magistrate told the man that if his wife is “hurting your head”, there are certain things he can do, but injuring or killing her is not among them.
For her part, Mrs. Myers told the court that her relationship with her husband has always been abusive.
She said she grew up in an abusive home and had two children before she met her husband, with whom she has a further two.
The woman told the court that she stayed with her husband because of her children, adding it is a shame that in her marriage she cannot look back at any good year among the 27.
She said that when her husband lost the first of his legs, she saw positive changes in him and she told him that it was a shame that their marriage has been unpleasant because he has in him what is needed for a happy marriage.
Mrs. Myers said that her husband told her last year that he would not be tolerating any nonsense in 2018 because he plans to live as a Christian.
The woman said that she has seen her husband praying and interacting with other Christians.
She, however, said that over the years, she has had to seek the help of the police to remove her possessions from her husband’s home because of his abuse.
At other times, neighbours would call her at work, saying her husband had thrown her stuff outside.
She said she did not stick with her husband because of love, but because of her children
Mrs. Myers further told the court that when she met her husband, he was living in a pallet-board house on lands that he owns, and she contributed the most to building the house in which they now live.
Mrs. Myers, however, said that her husband has been saying that the house belongs to him.
She said that her husband attacked her with the same knife before and she stayed away from their home for more than a month and only returned after he and his sister begged her to return.
Mrs. Myers said that she agreed to return to their matrimonial home on the condition that she and her husband would sleep in different bedrooms.
The woman said that she and her husband did not have any argument on Saturday, but he was displeased because their son took someone else and not him on a trip in the vehicle to sell fish.
The man, however, shouted to the court that his wife was telling “plenty lies”.
When asked by the magistrate why he stabbed his wife, Mr. Myers said, “Me nah go fuh kill her… I just go to cut she.”
‘frustrated by the lack of sex’
At this point, prosecutor Sergeant Delroy Tittle, told the court that the knife was very sharp.
Mr. Myers was about to say something when the magistrate told him, “Hold on, let me shock you now. I am minded to send you to prison; feet or no feet.”
Asked to make representation to the court, Tittle said that the situation was “unfortunate”.
“No, it is not,” the magistrate retorted.
“I think he was frustrated by the lack of sex. I think he is watching the woman and believing somebody else eating,” Tittle said, using colloquial language to mean that Mr. Myers might have believed that his wife was having an affair.
At this point, the magistrate cautioned the prosecutor to mind his language, noting that journalists were in the courtroom.
Tittle continued: “It really warrants a custodial sentence. I am really fearful for this lady’s life. I believe there will be further attacks. I am looking at him. He has no legs, but I believe this warrants a custodial sentence.”
Lawyer Ronald “Ronnie” Marks happened to have been at the bar table in connection with another case.
The magistrate, as is his habit of engaging counsel who happen to be at the bar table when certain unrepresented accused appear before him, asked Marks’ view on the case.
The lawyer said that the facts as presented by the police and Mrs. Myers are “frightening”, adding that the knife used to attack the virtual complainant was “very sharp”.
He told the court that it seems that the knife had been prepared for the attack.
“The way that he positioned himself and her reaction might have been the only thing that save her life,” Marks said, referring to Mrs. Myers’ account of how her husband had attacked her when she was about to leave the house.
“I am amazed that that woman is still standing there strong,” Marks said of Mrs. Myers, who spent two days in the hospital after the attack.
Marks said the only mitigating factors were that Mr. Myers had pleaded guilty, had no previous convictions, and has a “disability” that would make a prison sentence more difficult.
The lawyer, however, said the man’s physical situation should mitigate the length rather than the type of the sentence.
After hearing the lawyer, the magistrate told the man, “I have to inform you that this warrants a prison sentence and that’s where you are going. Look at what you did to your wife.”
At this point, Mrs. Myers told the court that her daughter had inadvertently made a 23-minute recording of the incident, and in the recording, Mr. Myers is heard saying that he wanted to kill her (Mrs. Myers).
She further told the court that before the attack on Saturday, Mr. Myers had asked an ex-prisoner what they did in prison and was told that some prisoners work on the farms, in carpentry shop, and in the bakery, etc.
The magistrate, however, said that he had already made up his mind about the sentence.
He sent the man to jail for four years.
An incident outside the court shows that a tough road that might be ahead for Mr. Myers, who fell from his wheel chair as police were escorting him to a vehicle for transportation to prison.
The reporter has rightly detected a serious adjudicating ‘…weakness’
in the adjudicator ‘…as is his habit’ to invite comments, particularly from prosecutors.
From Counsel, it is always favorable to a defendant. If engaged or offering
‘…pro bono service,’ that is what they are required to do.
From prosecutors, it is ‘…dangerous and prejudicial.’
In whatever language, it was a ‘…grossly reckless suggestion’ by prosecutor
Sergeant Delroy Tittle to speak to ‘…eating.’ Is he a ‘…town-man?’
A Court should not have to caution any prosecutor that ‘…journalists are around.’
A prosecutor is neither a witness, nor defence Counsel. For him to say
that the ‘…knife was very sharp,’ was a grossly prejudicial statement.
Their prosecutorial role is to lead evidence ‘…unfavorable and favorable’
against those on trial, and leave it right there.
Conversely, adjudicators tendency to invite comments from prosecutors
is not only wrong, but also prejudicial.
An adjudicator’s function is to consider the totality of the evidence adduced
before the Court (prosecution/defence), and make rational determinations.
If the evidence satisfies a conviction, then convict. If not, acquit.
As to sentencing based upon what the law stipulates and considering
whether or not ‘…the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors,
an adjudicator then decides on the imposition of the appropriate punishment,
having regard to ‘…all the circumstances of the case.’
In other jurisdictions, these have never been considerations for the police or prosecutors.
1.Can you expand on why it is a weakness by the Senior Magistrate to invite lawyers at the bar table to state their opinion? I may be wrong but I see any of my colleagues statements as being just that i.e.OPINION. I have been following the Senior Magistrate’s cases keenly and I have never seen or know about an instance where the opinion of the other swayed the initial sentencing or was ultra vires. Justice can be inclusive once it is fair.
I am not sure I have an opinion on soliciting the view points of the prosecutor for reasons mentioned below in 3.
2. I do agree with you that the words of the Prosecutor were very distasteful. Is it lack of training? I do not know the answer but something needs to be done soon as it relates to these matters that are led by police prosecutors.
3. I also agree with you that a prosecutor’s role is to provide the facts of the case. The prosecutor in the execution of his/her role should not be focused on a conviction or acquittal. The prosecutor in my estimation based on the facts of this article acted ultra vires on numerous occassions.
Great observations. Like you, I wish for more from our police prosecutors. Perhaps your comments may start the road of change.
This is a clear case of attempt murder, and that is what this man should have been charged with regardless of his physical condition.
What are the elements of an attempted murder charge?
Honest question for consideration.
This so sad on many levels. The facts of the case are troubling. The police was just there yet, this man still chose to act.
People need to learn self control. One stupid moment of rage, anger etc that leads to a lifetime of regret.
Four years in a facility that is probably not equip to deal with your disability, which I am sure will make it seems much more than the sentence.
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