The King v Samuel Cannonier

JurisdictionAntigua and Barbuda
JudgeBakre, J.
Judgment Date07 May 2024
Judgment citation (vLex)[2024] ECSC J0523-1
Docket NumberCLAIM NO. ANUHCR2023/0100
CourtHigh Court (Antigua)
Between:
The King
and
Samuel Cannonier

CLAIM NO. ANUHCR2023/0100

THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SUPREME COURT

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

Appearances:

Ms. Rashida Jonas Counsel for the Crown.

Mr. Wendel Alexander Counsel for the Defendant.

Bakre, J.
1

The prosecution filed an indictment on the 18th of January 2014 with a single count of Unlawful wounding contrary to Section 22 of the Offences against Persons Act Cap 300 of the Revised Edition (1992) of the Laws of Antigua and Barbuda.

2

Particulars of the offence reads:-

a. “Samuel Cannonier on the 28th day of December, 2022 at West Bust Station in the parish of St John in Antigua and Barbuda, unlawfully and maliciously wounded Elroy Cannonier”

3

The prosecution called three witnesses and read into evidence, the statement of one of the investigating police officers.

4

The prosecution in proving this case has a duty to show that the accused willfully or maliciously wounded or inflicted grievous bodily harm upon the complainant.

Summary of Evidence
5

The 1st witness is the virtual complainant and he gave his version of the evidence of what transpired between him and his nephew the accused.

6

The case of the prosecution is that on Wednesday the 28th day of December 2022 at about 11.30pm. The virtual complainant and the accused had an altercation and the accused wounded the virtual complainant by throwing a stone which hit the virtual complainant on the left chic bone and thus wounded him unlawfully.

7

The case presented by the virtual complainant as prosecution witness is that he was with a man called Greene who informed him that he was going to meet the accused person to request for the money owed him.

8

The witness stated that the said Greene tapped on the accused's van and the accused in a fit of anger came out and shouted at Greene not to touch his vehicle. He said Samuel asked him (virtual complainant) to pay the money owed to Greene and he refused and the accused became more aggressive towards him and that he saw the accused picked up a stone and while he was talking with the accused's girl-friend, he took his eyes off the accused and he felt a blow on his face and subsequently fell down and found the accused standing over him with stones in his hands.

9

He said at that time, Greene drew him away from the site and took him to his vehicle where he noticed that he was bleeding. He subsequently made a report to the police and was later referred to the hospital.

10

He said he was shocked with all these as he never had any problem with the accused who is his nephew.

11

The Doctor who saw the complainant also gave evidence on her medical examination of the complainant. She relied on her report and confirmed that the complainant was said to have been struck at the left side of his face with a stone.

12

Two police officers that took the statement of the accused were listed as witnesses but the statement of one of them (Kevin Gore) was read into evidence while Michael Edwards gave evidence physically. He said he took the statement of the accused in March 2023 (over two months after the incident) with Kevin Gore. He read the statement of the accused dated 2nd March 2023 into evidence.

13

He also read the statement of Ms. Thompson, the girlfriend of the accused into evidence under cross examination.

14

The defendant opted to give unsworn statement from the dock. His version of what actually happened is different from that of the virtual complainant but similar to the written statement of Ms. Thompson.

15

The statement of the accused was that he is a taxi driver and that the taxi stand, he saw a lady standing by a vehicle and he asked if she wanted a taxi and the lady was approaching him. He said at that point, he virtual complainant, his uncle who is also a taxi driver accused him of wanting to snatch his passenger. He said the lady stepped back and his uncle took her away in his taxi.

16

When the uncle returned, he told him he, the accused was not supposed to be at the taxi stand and asked him to leave but he refused.

17

He said there was a man who was also standing there who made a comment that he was disrespecting his uncle and that he replied that a man who would not want him to eat cannot be his uncle. He said the virtual complainant said that he was ungrateful like his father and that his led to exchange of words and that the virtual complainant then attempted to come towards him and he told him to stay off.

18

He said at this point, the virtual complainant went to his car and took something which he kept under his shirt and was coming towards him. He said the virtual complainant approached him and swiped a knife at him which he dodged twice and he fell while he was trying to back off from him.

19

He said when he got up, he still saw the virtual complainant still coming towards him and he ran to look for something to defend himself. He said he ran to the rubbish pack and back into the park towards his car but the virtual complainant still pursued him all the way back to his car.

20

He said that the virtual complainant went to the driver's side of his car and tried to remove the key from his car's ignition.

21

The accused said while the virtual complainant was trying to do this, he got a stone which he threw at him from where he was. He said the stone hit the virtual complainant and he fell, dropping both the knife and the key he was holding.

22

The accused said he took the key, the knife and the stone and he went to the police station. He said when the police officer saw blood on his hand, they gave him (a green paper) a police medical form and told him to go to the hospital but that he did not go because the injury was not much.

23

He said he wanted to leave the stone and the knife but the officers did not collect them from him.

24

He said he did not hear anything about the incident again and he continued his taxi business until months later when the same officer he had reported to came to arrest him. He said the police did not do anything about the report he made until they came to arrest him a few months later.

25

This was the statement of the accused.

Submissions
26

Upon the close of the case, counsel on both sides addressed the court. The prosecution urged the court to hold the accused guilty on the ground that, from the evidence presented, the accused actually wounded the virtual complainant unlawfully. The defense, on the other hand stated that the crown has not proved the case beyond reasonable doubt that the accused was not acting in self-defense and was thus not guilty in the circumstance.

27

In this case, just as in every criminal case, the burden of proof rests squarely on the prosecution. The burden is static and the accused is at liberty not to say anything in his defense. The crown has the responsibility to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused actually wounded the complainant and he did it maliciously.

Issues for Determination
28

The three main elements of the offence are as follows:-

  • 1. The virtual complainant was wounded.

  • 2. The wounding was caused by the accused.

  • 3. The accused acted maliciously while wounding the virtual complainant.

Analysis
29

The evidence of the three witnesses of the prosecution was clear that the virtual complainant was wounded with a stone thrown at his face. The police investigator gave evidence that she gave the virtual complainant a police medical form with which he saw a doctor.

30

Dr. Christine, who gave evidence as PW2, stated that the accused was...

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