Shonovia Thomas [left] and the deceased Archie 'Basha' Todman
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean ruled against the appeal of Shonovia Thomas' manslaughter conviction yesterday, August 27; however, it ruled in favour of the appeal for her sentence to be reduced. The court ruled that 14 months and 15 days be deducted out of her 10 year sentence.
Thomas was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in June/July 2010 in the death of her companion, Archie 'Basha' Todman.
Thomas, through her lawyers during a hearing in January of this year, appealed to have her conviction quashed and a verdict of acquittal entered; alternatively, to have the sentence be varied to one of not more than five years imprisonment, account be taken of 19 months on remand in calculation of Thomas' service of her sentence and such further, or other relief as the court deems just.
While ruling against the quashing of the conviction, the Court of Appeal found that the trial Judge did not properly take into account Thomas' time spent on remand; hence, her appeal on the sentence was allowed and as such, the 14 months and 15 days was deducted from her overall sentence.
In June 2010, Thomas, who was charged with murder, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter by reason of provocation for the stabbing of Todman, 43, on the morning of October 2, 2008 at his Huntum's Ghut apartment. The trial was heard before former resident Judge, Indra Hariprashad-Charles.
Thomas had claimed self defense, stating that she was being pushed around multiple times by Todman on the fatal morning when she reached for a rat tail comb in her bag and swung it at Todman. Thomas had also told the court of a four-year abusive and possessive relationship.
However, it was the Prosecution's case that Thomas stabbed Todman while he was in his bed because of rejection she faced when she visited his apartment on that morning.
In handing down her sentence in July of 2010, Justice Hariprashad-Charles said Thomas is "no archangel" as was portrayed in the court by the defence, since she was sometimes the aggressor and Todman was sometimes the aggressor during the abusive relationship.
Justice Hariprashad-Charles used the opportunity to urge persons who are in abusive relationships to get out, or try and seek counseling.
The Judge had stated that Thomas can get anger management classes while at the prison, since this will do her good.
At the time, she said in her opinion there were two aggravating factors - the seriousness of the offense where it resulted in death and the fact that Thomas had four previous summary convictions which included resisting arrest.
In relation to the mitigating factors, the Judge said that there were six mitigating factors - the fact that she was provoked over the years of a prolonged abusive relationship, age of the defendant when the offense occurred, she cooperated with the Police, she was very remorseful and choice of weapon used in the offense.
The Judge had stated that she used several cases to establish that the benchmark is 15 years in prison for cases of manslaughter by provocation; however, the Judge said that there are cases which can alter that benchmark where it can either be scaled down or up.