By Kadeem Joseph
Kenroy ‘Kenny’ Joseph, who was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter as a result of provocation by a jury last week in the High Court, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
However, in handing down the ruling, Justice Colin Williams explained that the sentence will be backdated to February 2016 when Joseph was first arrested, following an altercation with fellow villager Luciene Glennex Brodie.
This means Joseph could spend another five years behind bars.
On February 24 2016, the villagers got into an altercation at Mack Pond in All Saints, according to witness reports, which led to Joseph using a cutlass to inflict wounds to Brodie’s head.
Joseph was charged with attempted murder but that charge was elevated to murder after Brodie passed away due to a thromboembolism on March 16 of the same year due to inactivity because of the injuries he had sustained.
In handing down the ruling, Justice Williams described the case as a “difficult set of circumstances” with “pain on both sides”.
Williams said that the defendant had faced a “significant degree of provocation” before he inflicted the wounds on Brodie, noting that the deceased had hit Joseph before Joseph reached for his cutlass, which he carried as a farmer.
Justice Williams pitched the incident’s level of seriousness at medium.
In Antigua and Barbuda, the maximum sentence for the crime of manslaughter by reason of provocation carries 35 years, with a starting point range of 10 to 30 years.
It is due to the peculiar circumstances in this case that the justice said he chose the lowest sentence for a crime of this nature.
Before the judgement was handed down, the prosecution called the deceased’s daughter, who was 15 at the time of the incident, to the stand.
She spoke fondly of her father, recounting that he was always there for her, attending her events, taking her to ballet and being an “awesome” person.
She told the court of her visits with him while he was in the ICU at the hospital, and subsequently assisting in what she had hoped would be his recovery when he was discharged from the hospital.
In making an appeal for a possible sentence as low as eight years, defence attorney Lawrence Daniels told the court that Joseph was not part of a gang, nor was the incident premeditated.
He noted that the defendant acted alone and called Joseph’s actions “a temporary and sudden loss of self-control” in an effort to defend himself.
The case is the first jury trial since the Covid-19 pandemic began to impact Antigua and Barbuda last year.