Teen suffered campaign of ‘domestic violence’

| 06/07/2021 | 14 Comments
Cayman News Service
Renaldo Taylor

(CNS): A lawyer told a court that his young disabled client had suffered “a campaign of domestic violence” and provocation at the hands of his step-father, Damian Wellington, not unlike that suffered by a spouse in an abusive relationship, before he snapped and stabbed him multiple times in an altercation last year. Renaldo Keanua Taylor, who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident when he was just 16 years old, is now 20 but was just 18 when the violent incident happened at his North Side home. He was convicted of wounding earlier this year for stabbing Wellington at least half a dozen times.

Taylor had pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent, claiming self-defence against his step-father, who was not badly injured as none of the wounds were serious and were inflicted with a small knife. But the jury convicted the teenager back in January and he appeared in court Friday for sentencing.

Jonathon Hughes, who represented Taylor, told the court that his client had been provoked into the attack, not just by the aggressive and angry behaviour of his step-father that night but by years of violence from Wellington, who wanted Taylor out of the family home.

Wellington has a previous conviction for assault on Taylor when he was a young child, and during the sentencing hearing Hughes reminded Justice Cheryll Richards of the evidence that was raised during the trial of the significant violence Taylor had suffered at the hands of his step-father, who admitted using weapons on the child.

On the night Taylor stabbed Wellington, the toxic history between them had played a part, Hughes said, as he argued for a lenient sentence for his client, who also suffers from a number of mental health issues due to the violence he sustained as a child from birth, exacerbated as a result of losing his leg.

The crown contends that Wellington was unarmed when he was stabbed by Taylor, and although he was having an argument with his step-son, he was not physical or violent, and that Taylor had been the aggressor, even though he had been lying quietly in his bed without his prosthetic limb at the time and got into the fight on one leg.

Taylor had claimed he believed that his stepfather was again intent on causing him harm. He said he had grabbed a knife from his bedside table after Wellington had attacked him while he was on his bed.

There were conflicting accounts from Taylor, Wellington and Taylor’s mother, who were all present. However, prosecutor Greg Walcolm depended heavily on the idea that the step-father had been trying to improve his relationship with Taylor, that the violence on his part had ended and that it was the continued animosity from Taylor that could have fuelled his rage and led to him stabbing his step-father, when he was said to have told Wellington that he intended to kill him and was prepared to spend the rest of his life in jail. Walcolm told the court that there was no real provocation.

Hughes, however, argued strongly that there was and that provocation was key to the case. He said it was a campaign of provocation similar to the type of domestic violence that a spouse may suffer. He urged the judge to consider the question of provocation, not only in relation to the night of the incident but the much longer documented campaign.

Hughes said this was a “human case with unique features” and not a mathematical sentencing calculation. He asked the judge to depart from the type of lengthy sentence that a conviction for wounding with intent can command.

Despite the serious conviction, the defence attorney said that incarcerating Taylor would be unlikely to help him, especially when he needs treatment for his mental health issues, including ideas of suicide.

After hearing submissions regarding the potential sentence in this case, Justice Richards said she would need time to consider the information and that she would delivering her decision on 29 July.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (14)

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  1. jailaid says:

    I hope this teen get his justice!

  2. Anonymous says:

    This young man came to Cayman from England because he was a problem there, his father refused to accept him in Jamaica, Wellington marry his mother so he can assist his step kids, both of them has been a burden on the system since settling here. No one mentioned he lost his leg on a stolen bike, he stole and wrote of Wellington’s car. Stole and crashed a family friend vehicle. Trying to put him on the right path is abusive? Wellington taught him to drive. This boy wanted him out the way so he could manipulate his mother and live like a don in the man’s house.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes, the Wellingtons. Now where do they come from before they settled in Cayman?

  4. Elvis says:

    The damage had been done by his so called step father.
    The fool trying to change his behavior would made no difference to the teen. There was probably nothing in the world that would have prevented this out one other that one being taken far away.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How can a mother stay with a man who has always abused and continues to abuse her son? She should have been charged with abuse as well!!!!

  6. Cayman Problems! says:

    He did his badness but yet he was about to change his life.. this stepfather of his has been a issue for ab very very very long time an nothing has been done about it since the stabbing situation. Took him to do this before something like this to be brought up. His supposedly Christianity mother should be ashame of her self with this man behavior towards her child. No he’s not the best child in the world but at the end of the day it’s disgusting with his behavior towards the young man on a daily basis. He need to be removed from the house not Reynaldo, who are you sir? I watched this played out far to long an the stepfather should have to leave I’m sorry!

  7. Anonymous says:

    This poor young man. His mother should be ashamed and everyone who knew this poor kid was being abused from a young age only yo turn their Christian eyes away. Sicking.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true. This poor boy was set up to fail from an early age. There are still a lot of people on island who believe it is okay to beat their children and we need to work to change this.

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