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Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas

A High Court Judge has ruled that $10,000 in compensation is sufficient for a man from Tobago who was chopped by his neighbour, after he allegedly opposed him for failing to report his wife’s infidelity.

Anrov Manswell, of Providence, Tobago, pleaded guilty to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Roger Smart when he appeared virtually before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas last month.

During a follow-up hearing yesterday, St Clair-Douglas said the initial $5,000 in compensation offered by Manswell should be doubled.

“Based on the photograph, the court conveyed the impression that the injuries were moderate to severe,” St Clair-Douglas said.

St Clair-Douglas did not immediately impose the sentence, as he adjourned the case to January for Manswell to make the initial payment. He is expected to set the deadline for Manswell to pay the second instalment to Smart when the case comes up for hearing next year.

According to the evidence in the case, the incident occurred outside a shop in the community on May 13, 2012.

State prosecutor Giselle Ferguson-Heller claimed that Smart was standing outside the shop drinking wine when Manswell approached him and asked for a cigarette. She claimed that after Manswell got the cigarette, he went home, returned with a cutlass and attacked Manswell. Smart attempted to hide in the shop but Manswell allegedly followed him. Smart tried the disarm Manswell but four fingers on his left hand were cut as he grabbed the blade.

The incident ended after Manswell’s mother was summoned to the scene and she beat him (Manswell) into submission. She then assisted Smart in placing bandages on his injured hand.

Manswell admitted to attacking Smart but his public defender, Delicia Helwig-Robertson, sought to give a different account of what transpired, as she attempted to convince St Clair-Douglas that a prison term for her client was unsuitable.

According to Helwig-Robertson, Smart had just finished a drunken argument with his wife on the phone, when he allegedly challenged Manswell over his failure to inform him that he was “getting horn.”

Helwig-Robertson also noted that Manswell and Smart managed to resolve their disagreement and even worked together in a transport company for several years before Manswell left to open his own construction company.

Manswell also apologised to the court for his actions.

“I let anger get the best of me and I should have handled it differently. To the court and victim, I humbly apologise,” Manswell said.

Responding to Helwig-Robertson, Heller-Ferguson agreed with a non-custodial sentence but suggested that the $5,000 in compensation initially offered by Manswell was too low.