A 61-year-old farmer who appears to have some challenges with his gait was on Tuesday convicted of maliciously wounding another man with intent by chopping him three times with a cutlass.
A nine-member jury deliberated for over two hours before returning a guilty verdict in the case in which Austin Jack was charged that on July 28, 2022, at Richland Park, he unlawfully and maliciously wounded Agustin “Loush” Dick with intent so to do.
When the trial opened on Oct. 20, Crown Counsel Maria Jackson-Richards, in her opening statement, reminded the jury of the popular saying regarding books and their covers.
“‘Never judge a book by its cover’ or ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a saying, in the context of a person, that means that one should not judge someone by their outward appearance,” the prosecutor said.
“We all know what a cutlass is and we know that we can use a cutlass for a variety of things. We use a cutlass to cut grass, chop branches, wood, meat. And all of these uses that I mentioned to you are all within the boundaries of the law,” Jackson-Richards said.
She, however, said that using a cutlass to chop someone without a lawful excuse goes outside of the law.
“And yes, in SVG we have laws and we must abide by the laws of the country. The law says that when someone takes a cutlass and chops or wounds you, your brother, your mother, your child, you should report the matter to the police. The police must or should investigate the matter and based on their findings, lay a charge then that person must be prosecuted and that is why we are here today,” the prosecutor said.
“Because whether it is you or your mother, brother, child, neighbour, whoever it is, that person is entitled to seek and obtain redress.”
The prosecutor said that on July 28, 2022, between 2 and 3 p.m. the virtual complainant came out of his house and saw some bush on the ground freshly chopped.
Dick proceeded to pick the bush up.
“While he was bent over picking up these things in the yard, he felt a sting to his neck. When he looked up, he was just in time to lift his hand as a cutlass came down on him, then there was another chip on his neck. Who was the chopper man? Austin Jack aka Robbie,” the prosecutor said.
The Crown’s case was that Dick had planted some stuff and Jack cut them down and when Dick went to take up the cuttings, Jack chopped him with a cutlass maliciously.
Jack’s case was that he had planted some things and Dick cut them down and Jack did similarly in retaliation.
Dick got vex and attacked him and he (Jack) put in the first blow in self-defence.
The defence also ran the line that the injuries were accidental, saying that Jack had intended to plan rather than chop Dick.
After the verdict, defence counsel Carl Williams said he would reserve his submission on sentencing.
He said he would need about two weeks to prepare his mitigation.
Richards told the court that she would complete her submission in a week.
Jack was remanded in custody at His Majesty’s Prisons in Kingstown until his sentencing on Nov. 9.
Justice Brian Cottle presided over the trial at High Court No. 1, in Kingstown.