Sangre Grande man on bond for chopping man he found in his house

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police cars on a crime scene. – File photo by Jeff K Mayers

A Sangre Grande man who chopped the man who became his former common-law wife’s current partner has been put on a bond for a year, after a High Court judge agreed he had already paid a heavy price for his “toxic” response to the woman’s infidelity.

Eldon Moreno was sentenced by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds on January 23, after he pleaded guilty in December to unlawful wounding.

He was put on a $10,000 bond to keep the peace for a year or serve six months’ hard labour in default.

Explaining why she imposed the bond, after reducing his sentence from three years to one at a maximum-sentence indication, Ramsumair-Hinds said his detention would serve no purpose, as he had already paid a heavy price, and a non-custodial sentence could meet the justice of the case.

She said although Moreno “initially yielded to the toxic masculine response of violence to his common-law wife’s infidelity,” he exercised considerable restraint afterwards, especially after losing his home and family.

“To his credit, he did what society expects him to do. He moved on and left her to choose someone else, as is her right.”

The judge also noted after the incident, Moreno moved out of the home he shared with his common-law wife and then infant son, losing whatever equitable interest he had in the property.

She said he also lost contact with the child, who was a toddler at the time. His former common-law wife later raised questions about the child’s paternity, although Moreno is named on the child’s birth paper as the father.

The man he chopped on February 16, 2011, after finding him in his house on his couch, is now living in Moreno’s former home with his ex-common-law wife and the child, who is now 11.

“Even the baby is lost to him,” the judge said, adding that he had also suffered the economic hardship of losing his home.

She further noted that Moreno had been given advice involving the property and paternity, and urged him to try to get relief through the courts.

According to the facts to which he pleaded guilty, after returning home, Moreno saw the victim in his home, on his couch, picked up a cutlass and called him outside.

The man blocked the attack and was chopped on his right hand. Moreno went outside and warned the man he had “more chop to get.”

The police were called and found Moreno outside the house with the cutlass and he was heard telling the victim, “You lucky I don’t have my gun on me.”

Moreno complied with the police’s orders to put down the weapon.

Ramsumair-Hinds said the aggravating factors of the offence were its prevalence, its seriousness and the need for deterrence. She also said the seriousness of the injury was also a factor, since the victim’s bone was fractured in the “unprovoked, although spontaneous attack.”

The mitigating factors were that the injury was not life-threatening, nor did it leave the victim disabled.

She also took into account Moreno’s remorse, and his accountability for his actions, acknowledging there was no excuse for his behaviour.

Moreno was represented by public defender Kameika Peters. Charmaine Samuel represented the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.