1 Nov 2011

The essence of the subconscious - part one

There is something peculiar about the mind-set of a typical Monkey Islander. Take this article in the Daily Express for example. The essential facts as reported are as follows:

A convicted rapist sentenced to serve a 25-year jail term has been awarded $120,000 by a Port of Spain High Court Judge.

Justice Judith Jones on Friday awarded Kernel Sealy $100,000 in general damages inclusive of aggravated damages and $20,000 in exemplary damages. The sums awarded will carry interest in the sum of 6 per cent from October 29,2010. Costs of $27,000 were also awarded.

During the ruling, a stern-sounding Jones expressed alarm over the treatment meted out to Sealy at the hands of a prison officer. More so, Jones expressed dissatisfaction that taxpayers will once again have to bear the costs of unnecessary force used by the prison officer.

Stating, there have been high instances of brutality by police and prison officers, Jones said something needed to be done to curb such occurrences.

Noting, that she accepted Sealy's defence of what occurred, Jones said this was backed by medical documents supplied to the court, which showed the extent of injuries Sealy suffered to the head.

"Two things stood out in the evidence-the nature of the wound and how the wound came to be,"Jones said. Adding the prison officer "did not present to be a credible and was an unhelpful witness," Jones described the officer's evidence as "incredulous."

It was Sealy's case that on July 23, last year, he was in a cell at the State Golden Grove Prison when he and another inmate got into an altercation over a pail.

The inmate attacked Sealy and both men started fighting. Prison officers on seeing what was happening approached the duo and started beating them with a riot stave

Sealy told the court "I was begging the officers not to hit me because I did not do anything wrong but they just continued beating me and the other inmate.

"I was hit a number of times all over my body, on my legs and arms and in my belly and back. I fell to the ground while the officers were beating me. I think I black out for a few moments and when I revived I remember passing my hand to the back of my head and seeing blood all over my hands and the floor. The officers had hit me to the back of my head and buss my head real bad. There was blood all over the ground and on my body," Sealy testified.

Sealy said he was able to identify one of the officers. The officer in his defence told the court he did not notice any injuries to Sealy and proffered the explanation that Sealy's injuries came as a result of Sealy hitting against the wall of the prison during his fight.

Sealy, alias "Stone", 35, a rigger, of Sherwood Park, Arima, was found guilty by a nine member jury of rape, buggery, grievous sexual assault and common assault.

Now, the punishment for Sealy  - for the rape - was a sentence of imprisonment, of 25 years. Full stop! That was what the court deemed just for the crime that he perpetrated. 25 years in prison is a very long time, especially living under the conditions that are present in the prisons of Trinidad and Tobago. They have actually been described as ‘sub-human’!

Now Sealy was beaten by a prisons officer (PO), whom the judge described as not a "credible witness" and his given evidence as "incredulous". The judge just did not believe the PO. The sum awarded reflected the injuries received, and likely a punitive value as well, not for Sealy but to reflect the atrocious actions of the PO.

Lo and behold, the comments on the Express webpage, coming fast and furious, reflect such a paucity of thinking that I am appalled. For example:
crime continues to pay. man rapes. man is convicted and incarcerated. man is treated by prison officers equal to his crime. judge disagrees. judge awards man handsome comfort money. judge rules that comfort money must bear interest. the interest born by comfort money at 6 percent is 30 times greater than commercial interest rates which average zero point 2 percent. thus crime pays. "Sealey, alias "Stone", 35, a rigger, of Sherwood Park, Arima, was found guilty by a nine member jury of rape, buggery, grievous sexual assault and common assault," will surely be out of lockup soon to enjoy his loot complements taxpayers including the victim.
And this:
What The Helll Wrong With This Judge A Rapist Should Have No Rights
And this:
What is wrong with beating the shiiiiit out of convicted rapists? Did the rapist show mercy when he was brutally assaulting and mentally scaring for life his victim?
And this:
This is crap!! Sealy raped, buggered and attempted to murder an innocent 17 year old girl! A crime for which he was tried and convicted by a jury!! Yet no mention was ever made of compensation for his victim!! NOT ONE RED CENT SHOULD BE PAID TO THAT CRIMINAL!! The judge should have awarded the monies to be paid to the girl who has been traumatised for her LIFE!! Oh, and could anyone tell me why the so "innocent" Sean Wallace was convicted in the first place?... Yes he may have recieved a severe beating at the hands of the officers (wrong by any standard).. but by his own account he hid the bag of cigarettes that came over the wall of the state prison. No doubt in an effort to sell as part of the prison's contraband trade... Yet he's been compensated for almost $300K (TT). What part of that did Mr. Wallace use to comepnsate the victims of his crimes?... Judges,... people time to stop letting criminals profit more than once for their crimes.... Don't get me wrong,... if one prisoner is raping another,.. then a severe beating is justified,.. But they shouldn't profit from comitting crimes in prison too... paid for by taxpayers who're working hard and staying out of jail...
And this: – (in response to the above)
Well said! Your comment is quite thought provoking. He suffers an injustice but is compensated yet his victim received no sort of damages or compensation. Something is wrong with this justice system.
And this:
OMG!!! Again trinidad justice system is a joke. sorry guys i could not stop laughting when i read this. maybe if he had rape the judge relative it would of been different story. ONLY IN T&T.
Note these are among the more popular posts. They were regarded with great favour and approval (thumbs up), which to me indicated that there is something wrong with the mentality of the people down on the Rock.

My response to all of these and several more is as follows:

For all of those who are mouthing off at the 'injustice' of the judgment...

Put yourself in the victim's shoes... imagine you're in prison. A prisons officer (PO) comes along and beats you unconscious, bussing your head and leaving you with blackouts.

The officer later lies, and provides an incredible story that you hit your own head against the wall thus causing self inflicted injuries, the very nature of which is impossible to self inflict!

How would you take it? Would you 'smart' at the injustice of it and seek to have the 'wrong' righted, or would you, as you bleat now, say 'it good fuh meh, I go keep meh ar*se quiet and take it'?

Even if you are not in prison, if a police duncey do this to you... what would you do?

It's easy to be a critic when you are not the victim. Or maybe I should ask how many of you will let me beat the crap out of you with a baton for $120,000??

Note, that money is almost meaningless. He is still in prison, and cannot spend it.

To the bright spark who posted this comment:

So what if a rapist get ah buss head? The law is really an a$$. There should be a way that the award could be made and the money given to the victim.

I offered:

So will you let me beat the crap out of you with a baton for $120,000??

As can be expected, my offer - as generous as it was - was declined!

And to:

A victim of police violence gets more considerate treatment from the law than a rape victim, who is usually persecuted several times over in the course of due process simply by the way those trials run. That is comparative coddling and you know exactly what I meant. Stop being obtuse.

My response:


I don't know if I am more appalled or shocked by your short-sightedness.

(a) The man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his crime. 25 long years in conditions that are subhuman by everybody's accounts. Not 25 years plus brutal beatings, mind you.

(b) The sentence was deemed appropriate in law for his crime. You are now saying it is not enough and is licks in his tail too? Who are you to judge?

(c) The victim may be traumatised... But an imperfect system is what we have, and she has recourse in law if she seeks to use them. I feel for her but that crime is a separate issue to a brutal beating placed upon her attacker.

(d) I don't know that a man beaten so brutally that he loses consciousness, partial hearing loss for life, long term effects such as headaches and blackouts (Justice Jones indicated this was supported by the medical reports so we know it to be factual), is coddled. Would that you be coddled similarly, eh?

All in all, you display paucity of thinking/reasoning and a woeful ignorance of the basic tenets of law. You are emotive, uncaring, narrow-minded and biased. Did I leave anything out?

People fail to see that the rape by (and imprisonment) of the perpetrator is a separate and different issue to the beating he suffered at the hands of a prisons officer, who is charged with the duty to protect and safeguard said prisoner during his incarceration. In the eyes of the law, the prisons officer has a duty of care (a legal term) towards each and every prisoner under his watch. When this prisons officer or any other breach that duty of care, we the taxpayers are the ones that pay.