Sir Michael Birt. Kt., Bailiff, and Jurats Kerley and Milner
The Attorney General
Candido Goncalves Veloso
Sentencing by the Inferior Number of the Royal Court, following a guilty plea to the following charge:
1 count of:
Grave and criminal assault (Count 1).
Details of Offence:
There was a verbal altercation between Veloso and the victim (his neighbour), the victim went downstairs to collect the caretaker of the lodging house. On their return upstairs, Veloso hit the victim over the head with a metal pole, causing a 4 cm laceration which bled heavily and required stitches. There was an element of preparation as Veloso prepared himself for the victim's return by collecting the pole from his bedroom. The victim was highly intoxicated, and Veloso had been drinking, though there was dispute as to how much he had drunk.
In interview, Veloso admitted assaulting the victim.
Details of Mitigation:
Guilty plea. Cooperative in interview. No relevant previous offences.
The victim had left the communal bathroom in a revolting state. Veloso thought the victim and caretaker were going to attack him (though admitted he had no reason for this belief in relation to the caretaker). Felt at a disadvantage as he was wearing only a towel. Had found full time work and new accommodation. Low mood. Out of character.
Defence counsel also submitted that the interpretation at Q & A and probation interview was poor, and that this had led to a wrong account of the offences being put forward by the Crown and probation.
Three road traffic offences.
15 months' imprisonment.
Recommendation for deportation sought.
Sentence and Observations of Court:
The Court could come to no conclusion about the quality of the interpretation but was willing to sentence on the versions put forward by the defence counsel.
15 months' imprisonment.
No recommendation for deportation made.
C. M. M. Yates, Esq., Crown Advocate.
Advocate C. M. Fogarty for the Defendant.
1. When you had been drinking you had an argument with the victim who lives in an adjoining flat. You believed that he had left the communal toilet in a disgusting state including leaving vomit and other substances there. He went off to fetch the caretaker for the flats and on their return you hit the victim on the top of the head with a metal wardrobe pole that you had got from your room. The victim required stitches to his head.
2. Your advocate has submitted that the interpreter at the police interview and with the Probation Service did not do a good job and did not accurately translate what you said. We are unable to reach a conclusion on that but she says that what did not come across at the interview was that before he went downstairs to get the caretaker, the victim had shoved you in the chest, and that when the victim and the caretaker came back upstairs you were in a state of undress and therefore felt vulnerable such that you were possibly apprehensive about the approach of two men, although it is of course true that you knew that one of them was the caretaker. She also emphasises that the pole was kept just by the door of your flat and whilst therefore it is true that you had armed yourself with the pole, this was not a case of substantial premeditation. She has also emphasised that you pleaded guilty immediately and admitted your part, that you have only very minor previous convictions and none for violence, and that since you came to Jersey in November 2009 you have been employed except when you could not be because of an injury caused at work. And we note that you are now in work and we were shown an offer of further work.
3. We are willing to sentence you on the version put forward by Advocate Fogarty. But this was a serious attack with a weapon which was a metal pole and the nature of the assault was a strike to the head, which can always lead to serious consequences. The policy of this Court is clear. Violent attacks, particularly with a weapon, will almost invariably attract a prison sentence because we are determined to reflect the community's outrage at offences of violence. In the circumstances we cannot agree to proceed by a non-custodial sentence.
4. We conclude that the Crown's conclusions take into account all the relevant mitigation and therefore the sentence of the Court is 15 months' imprisonment.
5. As to deportation we have carefully considered whether to make a recommendation. The grounds to do so are there but we have decided not to do so on this occasion. But you must realise that if you were to commit any further offences in future deportation would almost inevitably follow but, as I say, we are not going to make a recommendation in this case so you will be free to remain in the Island when you come out of prison.
6. That is the sentence of the Court.