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criminal justice careers

A man who would have been released from prison soon had he not beaten up another prisoner has been told that he must serve an additional nine months in jail.

This was the decision of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday, where Daniel Bristol heard that to allow both sentences to run concurrently would make a mockery of the judicial system.

“You beat up a man in the prison and you want the sentence that you were given for beating up the man in prison to run the same time as the sentence you were in prison for?” Justice of Appeal Mario Michel asked Bristol after hearing his submission to the court.

“Yes, please,” Bristol said.

“So, in other words, you get nothing for that?” Justice Michel said, noting that Bristol, along with two other inmates had taken a piece of wood and beaten the complainant, stabbed him with an ice pick and hit him with a piece of steel.

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“And nothing for that because the sentences will run the same time… that’s what you are asking the court to do?”

“Yes, please,” Bristol said.

The complainant, Roderick Alexander, like Bristol, was an inmate at Belle Isle Correctional facility.

Bristol suspected that Alexander was an informant for prison officers.

On Sept. 15, 2017, Bristol and two other inmates beat Alexander resulting in injury.

At Tuesday’s appeal hearing, the chief justice, Dame Janice Pereira, who along with Justice of Appeal Gertel Thom composed the panel, asked him why he should serve no additional time for his additional crime.

The man said he accepts the judgement of the magistrate who sentenced him to jail on the malicious wounding charge.

He, however, said that he had beaten up the inmate because he had been in prison for a long time and had gotten frustrated.

“But this does not justify your behaviour,” the chief justice said.

She told the man that the court would like to think that he would want to behave like a model citizen so that all steps could be taken for early release.

“Not get frustrated and take it out on someone else. How does your frustration and taking it out on another party help anybody — causing injury ? And now you don’t want to be punished for what you did because you say you were frustrated.”

Bristol said he believes that he is now a straighter person than he was before. He said he was in prison since 2010 and the incident occurred in 2017.

He said he did not ask the other two co-defendants to help him beat Alexander.

“But they helped you anyway,” the chief justice said.

“And you did not try to stop them either?” Justice Baptiste said, adding, “It was a prison officer that came and stopped you all from finishing off the man.”

“Yes, please,” Bristol said.

He told the court that he wanted to show them a house plan.

‘Wonderful! You drew it?” the chief justice said and Bristol said yes.

The chief justice then told him that that is where he should be focusing his energies.

“You clearly must have talent if you can draw an entire house plan. That’s where your energies should go,” she said, referring to the house plan.

Justice Thom told Bristol that she is sure that if he continues with his good behaviour prison authorities would consider him for early release.

The chief justice added:

“But what the court cannot do, it would be contrary to principle to allow you to serve this time in relation to this offence as if it was part of the prior offence which got you there in the first place.

“Because that [would] mean that I have done what I have done, I have injured this man and I have gotten away scot-free for it. You appreciate that? That is what you are asking the court to accept.”

Justice Baptiste told him if that is the case, anybody in prison could beat up any prisoner that he or she does not like or a prison officer for that matter.

“Because the time I am going to serve is the same time I’m already serving so it really doesn’t make a difference. That is what, if the court were to do what you are asking, it would amount to. You can smuggle marijuana, you can smuggle anything, beat up whomever you want. If you are serving a long sentence, it would make absolutely no difference.”

“It doesn’t work like that,” Pereira added.

Baptiste told Bristol that if he thinks about it, he would see that his proposition is nonsensical.

“It would make a mockery of the justice system,” the chief justice said and told the man that his appeal has no merit and there is absolutely no reason why the court should accede to his request to have his sentences run concurrently.

“Nine months must be added on at the end of the sentence you were serving.”