A 38-year-old man from St. David has been ordered to spend the next nine (9) years and nine (9) months of his life incarcerated at the Richmond Hill prison for committing Arson.
The sentence was handed down on Clevroy Harry of Syracuse on Monday, by High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street.
Harry, who pleaded guilty to setting the home of a St. David’s family on fire in August 2016, was represented by Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden.
In mitigating his defense, the experienced criminal defense attorney drew the court’s attention to psychiatric issues identified by the psychiatrist who evaluated Harry, which is believed to be why he acts spontaneously, especially under the influence of alcohol.
On the day of the fire, the convicted man had accompanied a St. David’s family with whom he was acquainted since childhood to a family outing in the village and was asked to leave when he got drunk and started using obscenities in front of the children.
Harry, who faced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, confessed to getting vex and felt embarrassed when he was told to leave and as a result decided to commit arson.
According to the facts presented to the court by State prosecutor, Crown Counsel, Brendon La Touche, the convict, who has 16 convictions of which four (4) are of a similar nature, took a bottle with gas, which he found on the victim’s property, emptied the contents on a section of the house and lit it to start the fire.
Almost immediately after the act, he went to get water in an attempt to out the blaze.
Attorney Clouden considered this as a mitigating factor, noting that as a result “the damage to the house was minimal after Mr. Harry realised his folly.
“He seems to be mentally unstable…he carried out the crime on impulse, he acted impulsively without thinking,” the attorney said, referencing the Social Inquiry Report (SIR) in which, Harry’s own mother confirmed that he “gets ignorant and behave like someone who does not have sense when he drinks alcohol,” Attorney Clouden said.
Citing several points of law to support his argument, Attorney Clouden urged the court to not just look at the crime but to use an all rounded approach to sentencing his client, who he noted, was very remorseful from the time he realised what he had done.
The defense lawyer argued that prison is not the best option for his client, who has been on remand for the last two (2) years and three (3) months.
“Alcohol is his folly, he is in need of counseling…he needs help. Not imprisonment. Prison isn’t going to help him,” said Attorney Clouden, who also informed the court that he is fond of the now convicted man and can attest to his alcoholic problem.
Having fully reviewed the documents put forward by both sides in the case and listened to the arguments put forward by attorney Clouden, Justice Gilford agreed that Harry does need psychiatric assistance and counseling but took the decision to send Harry to prison for his “spontaneous” act.
As part of the sentence, the 30-year-old was also ordered to undergo psychotherapy treatment, counseling for alcohol abuse and any other treatment offered at the Richmond Hill Prison, failing which he would be subjected to an additional year behind bars.