A 49-year-old fish vendor, who was found guilty of felonious wounding was Monday sentenced to five years’ imprisonment after making a $500,000 compensation to his victim at the Demerara High Court. Back in January 2021, Compton Fecker called “Chappy” was found guilty by a jury of wounding Alvin Melville, with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or cause him grievous bodily harm.
Fecker was initially indicted by State Prosecutor Seeta Bishundial for attempted murder. He was, however, convicted of the lesser offence. According to facts presented by Prosecutor Bishundial, on March 19, 2015, in the county of Essequibo, the men had an argument during which Fecker pulled out a hammer and dealt Melville several blows to the head.
Fecker pounced on Melville, who was at the time holding bags, from behind. The injured man collapsed to the ground and was rushed to the Leonora Cottage Hospital. Due to the extent of his injuries, he had to be transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he remained hospitalised for days. At the time of the incident, Fecker’s son and Melville’s daughter shared a relationship.
A probation report revealed that as a result of the injuries, Melville partially lost his vision and hearing. He also sustained a fractured skull for which he has to undergo further surgery and suffers from constant headaches which make it difficult for him to sleep. The victim said that as a result of his injuries, he has been unable to work to provide for his family. From the outset, he indicated that he was willing to accept compensation which will go towards funding his mounting medical bills.
Temper justice with mercy
At Monday’s sentencing, Fecker’s lawyer, Adrian Thompson, pleaded with the Judge to temper justice with mercy. The lawyer told the court that his client has no prior brushes with the law and has expressed sincere regrets for his actions. Speaking to the sum of the compensation, Thompson said that Fecker is a man of meagre means and has been working for some time to accumulate the cash.
For her part, the State Prosecutor asked the court to consider the extent of the man’s injuries when imposing a sentence. Prosecutor Bishundial referred to the probation report in which it was detailed that Fecker has a bad temper especially when he was under the influence of alcohol.
The probation report noted that Fecker’s actions were unwarranted and he should have reported the incident to the relevant authorities. As such, the probation officer, at an earlier hearing, asked the court to adjudicate the matter in such a way that vulnerable people would feel protected by the court. The probation officer said that residents in his neighbourhood related that his actions were uncalled for since there were other means to settle the dispute.
Justice Reynolds in calculating an appropriate sentence for the convict weighed both the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, public interest factors, and the fact that Fecker opted for a “full-blown trial”
As it relates to mitigating factors, the Judge considered that Fecker was a first-time offender who expressed regret for what he had done.
While the fact that Fecker offered to compensate the man was a mitigating factor, the Judge said that the sum, in his view, was not adequate given the extent of the injuries the man sustained. On this note, Justice Reynolds pointed out that before his incarceration following the guilty verdict, Fecker went on with his life unhindered, while Melville’s quality of life deteriorated.
As it relates to aggravating factors, the Judge rehashed the brutal manner in which Fecker executed the crime. The Judge urged Fecker to use his time in prison to reflect on what he had done. Fecker was initially sentenced to seven and a half years’ imprisonment.
The Judge, however, deducted two and a half years which reflect the time he spent in pre-trial custody before he was admitted to bail, him expressing remorse and offering to compensate Melville. (G1)