Man fined, must pay compensation for chopping mother of his child

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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A man from south Trinidad who was allowed to plead guilty to a charge of attempting to murder the mother of his child in a domestic violence attack in 2010 has been ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and compensate her.

Anthony Farrow entered into plea discussions with the State in March and it was agreed he would plead guilty to the attempted murder, which took place on June 2, 2010.

It was the State’s case that Farrow chopped the woman three times to the back of the head during an argument over their child.

When the matter came up for hearing on April 6, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds accepted the plea deal and Farrow was allowed to plead guilty to attempted murder.

He pleaded not guilty to a second count of wounding with intent, and that charge was discontinued by the State at his sentencing hearing on Friday.

Ramsumair-Hinds admitted she had some disquiet about the agreement between the State and the defence on the non-custodial sentence recommendation and the payment of compensation for a gender-based attack.

But she said she had to apply the public-interest test to determine if the proposed sentence would bring the criminal justice system into disrepute or was against the interest of the public, which expects perpetrators of domestic violence to receive punishment commensurate with their crime.

The judge said while she was concerned “about the very lenient penalty for conduct involving gender-based violence,” she could not say the joint recommendation was so unhinged as to bring the criminal justice system into disrepute.

“I accept it despite my reservations,” she said.

In addition to the $5,000 fine, which Farrow had to pay immediately, he was ordered to pay $40,000 in compensation to his victim in monthly instalments of $2,000, starting on the second working day of June.

While it would have been preferable for him to pay a lump sum, his attorney Peter Carter had advanced his financial constraints to the court and offered the payment schedule to satisfy that aspect of the plea deal.

If he fails to pay the fine, he will serve two years of hard labour and for each instalment he misses, he will serve two weeks in prison.

“Stand by your word and make the payments you have promised. You have benefited from a very lenient agreement. Your attorney has done really well for you,” the judge told Farrow.

At the sentencing hearing, the judge also acknowledged that the plea deal system in Trinidad and Tobago was still in its early stages. She disagreed with those who felt plea discussions were a necessary evil in an overburdened criminal justice system.

“There is nothing shameful or unprincipled in the practice,” she said, adding that those in the system “earnestly interested in the business of convicting only the guilty and acquitting the innocent” would know that not every indictment requires a trial.

The State was represented by prosecutor Danielle Thompson.