Archive for October 29th, 2011

Guilty mother returns to child

| 29/10/2011 | 9 Comments

(CNS): As a result of what the judge said were exceptional circumstances, a 32-year-mother was able to return to her family this weekend after receiving a two year suspended sentence for an attack on her own mother. Laverne Gould, who has been deaf since she was a child, pleaded guilty to wounding after she stabbed her mother in the neck at the home they shared in West Bay in April and has been in jail ever since. Gould’s mother suffered further injuries during the struggle when she woke to find her daughter sawing at her neck with a kitchen knife but has since forgiven her. During his sentence ruling Justice Charles Quin said the case was not the usual type of stabbing the courts deal with.

“It has to be said that this is not the normal wounding case that comes before this court,” Justice Quin stated inhis sentencing ruling as he suspended the sentence allowing Gould to go free.

He pointed out that she had never been in trouble before and was not considered by anyone as a danger or aggressive. The judge described the crime as a “clumsy attempt to injure” her mother.

The judge had heard during the sentencing how Gould was of previous good character. She was known to be a kind and loving person who after the incident had shown enormous genuine remorse and had pleaded guilty from the outset. She had written a letter setting out her culpability and remorse only days after her arrest on the night of the attack.

Her defence attorney said it was hard to explain why his client had committed such an uncharacteristic crime but pointed out that at the time she appeared to be under the influence of her four-year-old son’s father, a man she had previously lived with for some seven years but of whom her mother disapproved because of his violent behaviour towards her daughter.

The mother believed the relationship to be abusive and unstable, despite her daughter’s continued love for the man, who the court heard was not assisting with the care and maintenance of their son. The boyfriend disliked Gould’s mother and it was believed that his pressure, plus Gould’s difficult financial circumstances after becoming unemployed and frustrated by her limited communication as a result of what was described in the social enquiry reports as the simplicity of sign language, led her to commit the crime.

The court also heard how Gould’s mother as the victim of the stabbing had forgiven her daughter and, along with her young child, desperately wanted her to come home.
While the judge noted that courts cannot act on the victim's recommendations, he had taken the mother’s wishes into consideration alongside the fact that it was no ordinary case.

“Sometimes we have exceptional cases that do not fall within the normal sentencing guidelines. I do find that the circumstances of this case are exceptional circumstances,” Justice Quin said. “What is clear is that the defendant was a person of good character who has shown genuine remorse. She accepted her culpability at a very early stage.”

The judge said Gould loved her mother and her son and they both wanted her to come home. He said the court had to impose a sentence to reflect the gravity of the offence to which the defendant had pleaded guilty, as he handed down the two year prison sentence. “However in light of the exceptional circumstances surrounding the case I suspend the sentence for two years,” he added.

The judge also ordered that Gould undergo two psycho-educational programmes as recommended by the social worker on the case “Healthy relationships” and “Anger management” and that she must exhibit good behaviour towards her mother.

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