After spending 5 years on remand for murder, 60-year-old Ronald “Duck” De Allie has been ordered to spend the next 29 years and 3 months behind bars for the August 2010 death of 52-year-old businessman Michael Raeburn Delfish.
High court judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford handed down the sentence last week Friday at the No. 2 High Court on The Carenage in St. George’s.
De Allie was slapped with the murder charge on September 6, 2010, after police officers unearthed the dismembered and decomposing body of the businessman buried in a shallow grave on lands in St. Patrick, belonging to the deceased.
A post-mortem conducted indicated that a cutlass or an axe could have been used to inflict the injuries on Delfish who was last seen alive on August 25, 2010.
Two of the main aggravating factors considered by the court in handing down sentence were the fact that most of the injuries sustained by the victim were anti-mortem, meaning that he was still alive when they were inflicted on him and the manner in which the body was dismembered and disposed.
The court noted De Allie told investigating police officers that the deceased whom he was renting from, had continuously accused him of selling illegal drugs on the premises, where he also operated a nightclub called “Club 54.”
“We got into an argument…I hit him a punch, he fell and I didn’t know what to do. He had a cutlass I took it and I cut him up,” De Allie said in giving an account about what happened on the day of the incident.
In handing down sentence, Justice Gilford also took into account among other things, De Allie’s guilty plea, and his expression of remorse even from the beginning, and his clean police record prior to the incident.
The judge determined that there was some form of provocation leading up to Delfish’s death but took into consideration the prevailing violent times in the Grenadian society in which crimes committed with a weapon are happening too often.
“The court cannot turn a blind eye to the nature of the case and the manner in which the crime was committed,” said Justice Gilford.
She also expressed the view that De Allie would require a combination of psychological and general counseling throughout his incarceration.
Counsel for the convict, Attorney-at-Law Ruggles Ferguson, failed in his attempt to get the judge to give a sentence discount to his client as he pleaded guilty to the offence and did not waste the court’s time.
Justice Gilford explained that because De Allie did not make a plea at the earliest opportunity, she took the decision to only award him 1/10th (the lowest deduction) out of the stipulated 1/3 time of the sentence, which is equivalent to approximately 3 years and 6 months.
De Allie was also discounted for the 5 years already spent on remand.
According to the social inquiry report presented to the court, the convict who is the father of two girls, grew up in the village of Chantimelle, St. Patrick, often went to church and can be considered a family-orientated individual.
At the age of 19, De Allie travelled to the United States where he spent an extensive number of years before moving over to the United Kingdom and then returning back to Grenada in 2008.
De Allie found himself in trouble with the law within a mere two years of returning to the Spice Isle.
The accused accepted full responsibility for his actions and placed on record his deep regret for what he had done to Delfish.