(CNS): Maurice Jackson escaped an attempted murder charge this week after the crown accepted his guilty plea to wounding in connection with a drunken knife attack in North Side earlier this year following a dominoes game. As the crown was unable to prove any intent behind an extremely serious attack, the 23-year-old admitted the lesser charge and on Wednesday he was handed a jail term of three years and eight months by acting Grand Court Judge Timothy Owen.
The judge pointed to the grave and serious injuries sustained by Jackson’s unarmed victim after the brawl turned especially violent.
The disagreement started after a dominoes match on the afternoon of 20 April, throughout which they both drank heavily. Jackson was said to have been angry and throwing insults and the men almost came to blows, but were pulled apart and went their separate ways.
However, a few hours later they were both in the same North Side yard again and the violent fight broke out. The cause of the physical altercation was difficult to ascertain, the court heard, and given the intoxicated state of both Jackson and his victim as well as conflicting witness statements, the judge said obtaining a reliable account was impossible.
But Jackson was armed with a long knife and inflicted several injuries in the attack, including two very serious stab wounds. The judge therefore found that, regardless of who started the fight, Jackson bore responsibility for the life-threatening injuries he inflicted on his victim, who could have died if it had not been for the skills of the medical staff that treated him.
A doctor’s report revealed that two of the injuries to the man’s thigh and buttocks were so deep and serious that he came close to organ failure due to blood loss, as well as numerous other complications. These have left the victim with an uncertain long-term prognosis as he continues to suffer some paralysis, may never walk properly again and could still lose his foot or even a leg.
The judge said he was aware of the implications the jail term would have on Jackson’s wife and young child but a custodial sentence was inevitable, given the serious injuries he caused before fleeing the scene.
After weighing the aggravating factors of the serious injury and the use of a knife against Jackson’s remorse, his concern for his victim and his lack of previous violent convictions, the judge passed a sentence of just over five years. But given Jackson’s guilty plea and the speed with which the case could be resolved because of his admission, the judge gave him a full discount of 33%, arriving at a term of three years and eight months.
Justice Owen said it was clear the defendant had a “serious alcohol problem” that had fueled the potential deadly attack, but hoped his time in jail would allow him to reflect on that and “emerge a better man”.