(CNS): David Andrew Bodden (39) has been jailed for three years for cutting the throat of Blake Burrell with a scalpel in broad daylight on a busy cruise ship day in downtown George Town last summer. Bodden was handed a three-year sentence by Justice Charles Quin Thursday, several months after he was tried and found guilty by a jury of unlawful wounding. Bodden had chased down Burrell in the street because he and Jose Sanchez had both threatened Bodden’s life on several occasions and had shot-up his house.
Although there was clear evidence that Bodden was under threat from the two men, the court still found that his actions were not justifiable self-defence, and in his ruling the judge made it clear that Bodden should not have taken matters into his own hands.
Bodden had arrived at the George Town police station on the morning of the stabbing distraught and at his wit’s end over the threats. He had asked the police to go with him to take statements from people who were witnesses to the ongoing threats. The police had followed Bodden, who was driving his own car, but as they drove through George Town, by coincidence, Bodden passed Burrell, who he said had thrown him a gun sign from his own car, which was going in the opposite direction. Further enraged, Bodden swung his car around and went after him.
He rammed Burrell off the road, and when he left his car, Bodden chased him on foot with a scalpel in his hand, which he had taken from his job at the funeral home. As he caught the man he cut his throat, causing a 20 centimetre gash, which would certainly have killed him if the police officer following Bodden had not acted quickly and taken him to hospital.
While it was broadly accepted that Bodden had been provoked, the judge said that on the one hand Bodden was trying to assist the police by taking them to get evidence, and on the other he should never have had scalpel in his hand and used it in the way he did. Justice Quin said the police were behind him, so there was no need to chase after Burrell and Bodden should have left the officers to apprehend him.
As he delivered his sentencing ruling, the judge pointed out that the stabbing took place in broad daylight at a busy time on the streets of George Town and the prolonged car chase had ended in reckless violence. Bodden, he said, had let anger get the better of him and inflicted the serious injury. He had also committed the offence while on bail. Although the judge accepted that Bodden had been threatened and he was afraid for his life, for the second time this week Justice Quin made it clear that people cannot take the law into their own hands. He said if everyone did that, the result would be “violent lawlessness and anarchy”.
Having given careful consideration to what he described as an unusual case, the judge said he believed a three-year jail term was appropriate, with time spent on both remand and an electronic tag taken into account. Bodden was remanded to Northward following sentence.