By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A HAITIAN who attacked a man with a hammer during a dispute over a cell phone was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday.
Miguel Duverne, 21, appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes charged with one count of causing harm, after he was accused of hitting Martin Grant of Harbour Island in the face with a hammer on August 7.
The court was told that that night, Mr Grant told police a young Haitian man whom he knew as Miguel came to his residence to return a cell phone that had gone missing three days earlier. Mr Grant said when he checked the phone at the time, he noticed its chip was missing. When he confronted Duverne about it, an argument followed and the defendant struck him on the side of his face with a hammer.
The prosecution said the blow caused a wound and laceration and the complainant had to be taken to New Providence for medical attention. As a result of his injuries, Mr Grant filed an official complaint with police.
Duverne was subsequently arrested. He was then taken to the Harbour Island police station where he admitted to the offence in an interview with police. According to the prosecution, the defendant has no legal status in the country.
During the hearing, Duverne was represented by attorney Nathan Smith. He told the magistrate his client had one child and was employed as a construction worker in Eleuthera. He also noted how Duverne admitted his guilt from the onset of the investigation and argued that he had only committed the offence because he was acting out of anger. Saying that the defendant understood that the circumstances that triggered his anger did not excuse his actions, Mr Smith insisted that Duverne was remorseful for the harm he had caused.
Ian Cargill, the attorney representing Mr Grant, also attended the hearing yesterday. He told the magistrate that Duverne had been on the run for two weeks before his arrest and was working illegally in the country. He also said his client had been hospitalised for two weeks as a result of the injuries suffered during the incident and insisted Mr Grant was still suffering from pain and trauma.
As a result, Magistrate Forbes sentenced Duverne to six months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services and ordered him to be handed over for deportation on the completion of his sentence.
As the defendant has been on remand since August 14, he has four more months to spend in custody until he is sent to the director of immigration.