Alvin Gounga, called “Orvin” and “Captain”, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to manslaughter, at a retrial at the High Court on Monday.
This comes five months after a 12-member jury could not reach a verdict in October 2016 when Gounga had initially said that he was not guilty of killing his father-in-law.
However, when he appeared in court on Monday, he changed his story and admitted that on May 14, 2005 at North West District, Region One (Barima-Waini), he murdered Desmond Henry, who was his wife’s father. Reports had indicated that two men were involved in a row over gold after which Gounga shot Henry with a bow and arrow. At the time of the incident, Gounga was 22 years old.
When Gounga addressed the court, he did so in a very soft tone, saying “I’m so sorry”, to the Judge on Monday.
His Attorney, Dexter Todd in appealing for a reasonable sentence, told the court that his client had no prior brushes with the law, has been a disciplined inmate and has reflected upon on his action and was sorry for what happened. Todd added that there was “no doubt” that his client would contribute to society, but the prosecution reminded the court that the accused killed his father-in-law.
Trial Judge Navindra Singh, in handing on the sentencing, took into account the accused’s prison report that reflected well on him and that he enrolled in several programmes offered by the prison service.
Justice Singh told him to remain in these programmes as he was eligible for parole next year. Meanwhile, the years he spent awaiting trial were deducted from his sentence.
State Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy led the case and was assisted by fellow Prosecutor Siand Dhurjon.
No relatives of the accused or the deceased were present at Monday’s sentencing.