… Imprisoned for 56 years after killing a neighbor
Stating that the court will show no mercy because of its reluctance to express genuine remorse for the murder of its 49-year-old neighbor, Justice Navindra Singh on Thursday sentenced a Mahaica man, East Coast Demerara to 56 years in prison for the crime.
Foster Gravesande, 50, was convicted of the April 9, 2017 murder of his neighbor Courtney Porter, following a case in Demerara High Court. After the verdict, Justice Singh remanded him further to jail until Thursday for filing a probation report and sentencing him.
Porter, a father of three, was reportedly beaten in the head with a piece of wood by Gravesande, who had accused him of stripping his wife’s clothes. Following the incident, Porter was hospitalized and his attacker was charged with attempted murder and was released on bail.
However, Porter surrendered two weeks after the beating, and Gravesande subsequently fled the area, but was captured in another police department. The charge against him was elevated to murder. After a Preliminary Investigation (PI), he was committed to stand trial for the capital offense.
During a plea in mitigation, Gravesande’s solicitor urged the Judge to temper justice with mercy. The solicitor highlighted that because of his client’s imprisonment over the last three years, he had been unable to conduct his business and contribute to his family and society. The lawyer said he believed his client could be rehabilitated, as no adverse reports of his behavior were received while in prison.
“He [Gravesande] more in prison as a peacemaker. Someone who stays true to his Christian beliefs, ”added counsel. Further, the lawyer asked the court to consider his client’s attitude to the crime. In doing so, he said his client had told the Police what had happened when he was arrested.
He added that even after Porter died, his client did not try to escape, since the Police entered his workplace and arrested him.
“He has shown remorse. He has a clean record, and when he comes out [of prison], that clean record will be maintained. ”
The solicitor also asked the court to consider the length of time his client spent on remand pending trial.
According to counsel, worldwide and in the Caribbean, sentencing principles and guidelines are developing. He pointed out that although his client’s actions resulted in someone’s death, these guidelines and principles never meant that sentencing had to be treated as an eye for an eye.
Gravesande’s lawyer reasoned that, although someone has died, and punishment must be imposed, he should not detract from the rest of his client’s natural life, given his age.
When asked by the Judge if he had anything to say, Gravesande expressed regret that he was facing murder charges for his “true friend.”
“I beg for mercy. I apologize to the family [of the deceased]; they are no strangers to me, and I would like to contribute to the family. I gave my deepest condolences to the family. I will never be happy about this because life was lost and he was my true friend. I get sleepless nights because of this. ”
The murder conviction told Justice Singh that he is not a bad person. “The only bad thing about me is that I like enough women.”
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Justice Singh was not moved by the convict’s pleas for mercy. In fact, the judge emphasized, “This guilty prisoner has no remorse for what happened. He expresses what he has lost forever, and what he has not been able to do, and what he can do when it comes out [of prison]. His story is impossible given the pathologist’s medical evidence. You cannot be truly repentant unless you accept what you did.
“This guy [Gravesande] coming into court, swearing at the Bible, and then lying to me, ”underlined Justice Singh. “Now he’s asking the court for mercy.” The Judge went on, “No!” Speaking to the murder conviction, he reminded the Judge that he had opted for trial, and now the jury has spoken.
This is a senseless act that he has to pay for, ”Justice Singh asserted.
For his part, State Prosecutor Teriq Mohammed reminded the court that the victim had serious head injuries that dislocated his brain.
In passing sentence on the convict, Justice Singh embarked on a 60-year basis. He found that there were no mitigating factors on which the court could grant a deduction. The Judge only deducted four years from the basic sentence, which reflects Gravesande’s time in pre-trial custody.
His sentence is 56 years in prison.
Justice Singh has ordered that Gravesande become eligible for parole only after serving at least 28 years.