Mayaro woman sentenced to time served for stabbing abusive boyfriend

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A Mayaro woman who was found guilty of the unlawful killing (manslaughter) of her abusive boyfriend has been freed.

Himlata Samaroo stabbed Joash Ali ten times after she claimed he beat, choked, and tried to rape her when she told him she was moving out .

In delivering her verdict of manslaughter, Justice Gail Gonzales said she found Samaroo suffered a temporary loss of self-control when she killed Ali on June 29, 2014.

Samaroo was before the judge at a judge-only trial, charged with Ali’s murder. In sentencing her, Gonzales, after deducting the eight years Samaroo spent in custody awaiting trial, said her sentence had already been served and ordered her immediate discharge from prison.

In her verdict, she said she was satisfied that Ali’s behaviour over the duration of the couple’s relationship and his conduct on the night he was killed led to Samaroo’s loss of self-control, and considered whether the average person would have been provoked and reacted as she did.

“I was satisfied that the ordinary, sober Trinidadian female with the minimum powers of restraint, similarly circumstanced, upon being choked during an altercation, might suddenly and temporarily lose self-control and react as Samaroo did and kill her attacker,” the judge said.

The prosecution had contended a month before she killed him, Samaroo allegedly had a conversation with a man in which she offered to pay him to kill Ali.

On the night of the incident, Ali came home with two friends with whom he had been drinking. After he left to drop them home, Samaroo called to tell him to return home. When he did, he saw a vehicle outside the apartment and the couple argued. It was also alleged that Samaroo told someone Ali tried to kill her and she stabbed him.

She also gave police an account of what happened, saying Ali accused her of being unfaithful when he saw the vehicle parked outside and began to attack her, also trying to rape her. It was when he began strangling her that she squeezed his groin and he threatened to kill her and her unborn child when she begged him to let her go.

She also said she stuck her nails in his eyes and managed to take away the knife, swinging at him and slashing when he started kicking her with his steel-tipped boots and hitting her again. She called the police and even flagged them down when they passed her home.

In her defence, she contended Ali was abusive to her during their relationship. They met in 2012 and he moved into her parents’ home while she was separated from her husband. Three months on, he began sending suggestive messages to her husband, pretending they were from her.

The relationship got worse when her estranged husband spoke to Ali. He became possessive and physically abusive, often kicking and shoving her around when he was angry. She was not allowed to have friends and he was also abusive in the presence of her family and co-workers.

Her parents eventually evicted Ali from their home and Samaroo went to live with him by a relative before she rented the apartment in Mayaro. She said she suffered several miscarriages because of Ali’s abuse.

She also denied trying to hire someone to kill Ali, although the judge accepted the man’s evidence that she was willing to pay him to kill.

However, in her verdict, the judge said the State had not satisfied her that Samaroo was not a victim of domestic violenc,e although she did exaggerate the extent of the abuse.

“Domestic violence is a complicated issue. Many persons suffer domestic violence without persons close to them being aware. A peculiar feature of domestic violence is that tt is often perpetrated in the absence of others,” she said.

She also said she found discrepancies in Samaroo’s testimony as it related to the altercation on the night and as a result her defence of self-defence failed.

Samaroo was represented by attorneys Sophia Chote,SC, and Rosario Sookdeo. Indira Chinebas and Kezia Gray Birkette prosecuted.