By Makeida Antonio
The father of a young boy who was the unfortunate recipient of a botched circumcision has begged the court for leniency in sentencing the two men responsible.
The victim’s father took the stand as a witness during the sentencing of Patrick Matthews and Arnold Joseph in the High Court yesterday.
In July 2021, the pair was found guilty of performing the procedure – which occurred on April 8, 2015 – while not being licenced to do so. Joseph had performed the cutting of the foreskin under the instruction of Matthews. The child was only five years old at the time.
Matthews was never registered to practice medicine in Antigua and Barbuda and he pretended to be a doctor with the National Stroke Association. He was stripped of his title of Ambassador-at-Large by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July.
The father said he was thankful for the opportunity to address the court, saying he was doing so with a “heavy heart”. He told the court that he felt remorse when Matthews was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison in July and felt sorry that Joseph got wrapped up in the matter.
The father of the victim, who’s now 11, stressed that Joseph, in particular, never showed any ill-will to him or his family, had called to inquire about the condition of the child and apologised on numerous occasions.
The father stated that, due to his Christian belief, he has forgiven both Matthews and Joseph. He added that all the family wanted was a sincere display of remorse from Matthews and believed that the two months he spent on remand was sufficient time served.
The judge reminded Matthews’ lawyer, Dr David Dorsett, that remorse is a mitigating factor under the new sentencing guidelines and a letter could have been sent from his client to the victim’s family through him as his legal counsel.
Matthews, when given the microphone to put his apology on public record, said he would have done so sooner, had his legal counsel not advised him against doing so due to the ‘no contact’ condition of his bail.
Additionally, he expressed remorse for any previous misconduct during the matter and said he has gratitude for the grace shown by the victim’s father. Following the adjournment of the sentencing, Matthews shook the father’s hand in the courtroom.
The victim had to undergo numerous reconstructive surgeries abroad and was advised to resume therapy by the judge. He is said to be recovering from his ordeal.
The sentencing will resume on October 8.