Tobago man pleads guilty to chopping Pembroke neighbour


Jada Loutoo

10 Hrs Ago

A TOBAGO man has pleaded guilty to chopping his neighbour in 2012 after he claimed the man pelted him with a wine bottle after accusing him of not telling him about his wife’s infidelity.

While the facts of the chopping incident on May 13, 2012, at Pembroke, Tobago, were disputed between Anroy Manswell and the State, he has admitted his guilt and has also expressed willingness to compensate his victim and now friend, Roger Smart.

Manswell appeared virtually before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas on Thursday, and is expected to be sentenced later this year.

And while both his attorney, Delicia Helwig-Robertson, of the Public Defenders’ Office and prosecutor Giselle Ferguson-Heller agree the court should not impose a custodial sentence, they could not agree not on the amount of compensation.

Helwig-Robertson said Manswell has gathered $5,000 for the victim. ButFerguson-Heller said $5,000 was too low, given that Smart had lost the use of four fingers because of the attack.

The judge, in directing the prosecutor to file a victim impact statement for Smart to say how the attack affected him, also said an accused should not be able to walk in and out of a courthouse and go about his life, but had to pay for the crime, either by time in prison or the quantum of compensation.

The judge has adjourned the matter to December 3.

After pleading guilty, Manswell addressed the court from the Tobago High Court, where he was logged in virtually. He said he was sorry for how he handled the situation at the time.

“I humbly apologise,” he said.

In presenting the prosecution’s facts, Ferguson-Heller said Smart was sittingoutside a mini-mart in Pembroke sipping the wine from a bottle he bought earlier when Manswell asked him for a cigarette.

Smart gave him one and Manswell left to go home and returned a short while later with a cutlass. The two began struggling with the cutlass and Smart escaped inside the shop and Manswell entered.

Smart fell and held on to the cutlass and his fingers slid across the blade, cutting them and damaging the nerve endings.

Manswell again tried to chop Smart, but Manswell’s mother, who had been called to assist, subdued her son by beating him and then helped Smart to bandage his fingers.

The police were called and Manswell admitted to chopping Smart.

Smart received 35 stitches to his left hand.

Helwig-Robertson said while the defence did not agree on how the chopping started, it did not affect his guilt. She claimed the attack was “out of character” for Manswell.

She said he passed Smart on his way to the shop and Smart accused him of knowing what was going on and not telling him “his (Smart’s) wife was giving him horn.”

She said Smart, who was drinking and had been earlier heard quarrelling on the phone with his wife, pursued Manswell, who got upset and picked up the cutlass from his veranda. She said when Smart pelted the wine bottle at him, “That is when he let him have it.”

She said Manswell, a labourer, had no previous or subsequent convictions or charges against him, lived with his mother and sister and was the main breadwinner in the family.

Helwig-Robertson also gave the court several testimonials in favour of Manswell in her plea in mitigation.

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