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Labourer gets 8 months for killing friend

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Gran Couva labourer will spend the next eight months in prison for killing his friend whom he stabbed over 30 times in a drunken brawl eight years ago. In passing sentence Justice Geoffrey Henderson advised Michael Baboolal to turn his life around and make something out of himself when he is released from prison. Baboolal, 29, was charged with murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter. The State accepted the manslaughter plea on the basis of provocation. 



In passing sentence in the San Fernando First Assizes yesterday, the judge said he used a 14-year jail term as the starting point. However, he deducted one third because of Baboolal’s guilty plea and subtracted the eight years and seven months the prisoner was incarcerated awaiting trial. The incident began outside a bar after a bazaar in Gran Couva on May 2, 2005. Baboolal was liming with his brothers and the deceased, Lester Baptiste, 34. They were all drunk. 


According to the State’s case, Baboolal and Baptiste began arguing. Baptiste slapped Baboolal and the prisoner slapped him back. Baptiste left and returned with a cutlass and a knife. In a statement he gave to the police, Baboolal said he was on a bridge with his brothers when the Baptiste ran towards him and they began to fight. Baboolal said he managed to take the knife away from him and stabbed him several times with it. He also said he held down Baptiste while his brother “planassed” him with the cutlass.


And while Baptiste was on the ground bleeding Baboolal admitted he kicked him several times. Baboolal, who was also injured in the fight, said he then went home and slept. Baboolal was subsequently charged by Insp Dipchan Samuel. His attorney Rekha Ramjit, in her mitigation plea, said Baptiste had no previous convictions or pending matters. Ramjit was instructed by Marissa Bubb. The probation officer’s report and even the judge found Baboolal to be remorseful and contrite. 


According to the report, Baboolal was well regarded in his community and were it not for the incident he would have done quite well as a cricketer. The probation officer also recommended Baboolal be released on a good behaviour bond. State attorney Maureceia Joseph prosecuted in the matter.


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