No jail time for bus driver who punched ten-year-old student

A bus driver’s story of how he punched and slammed a 10-year-old to the ground did not get him a jail sentence; however, the judge warned him to be on good behaviour for three months or else he could end up behind bars.

Davis Eugene of Fortune pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at his arraignment at the High Court of Justice on Tuesday.

At his trial the same day, he told the court that his actions on November 20, 2009 were as a result of a problem between his children and the complainant, a 10-year-old grade six student of the Roseau Primary School.

“ …  I’ve been going up and down like a mad man … practically every day my kids would come home with scars and all kinds of bruises,” he explained.

According to the facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution’s lawyer Wayne Nordé, the complainant and the accused met at school because of problems with the son of the accused.

On November 20, 2009 the accused was driving when he was aggravated by the boy who called him “a buller.”

Eugene then stopped his bus and started walking towards the ten-year-old; the boy reacted by running towards DOMLEC and onto King George Street, adjacent to Jolly’s Pharmacy.

Eugene caught up with the boy and grabbed and punched him. He then lifted him up and threw him onto the pavement.

“The complainant got up and he punched him again,” the state’s lawyer told the court.

Consequently, the boy was hospitalised with a bloody mouth, injured front upper gums and teeth.

The following day when a police constable took Eugene to the Criminal Investigations Department for an interview he recounted the incident the exact way it was told in court.

“I grabbed him from behind and slammed him against the floor. I don’t know why I slam him so hard. He ran across the street and I punched him, asking him to stop all that nonsense,” the accused told the police during questioning.

Eugene initially informed the court he had no legal representation. In a mitigation plea Lawyer Peter Alleyne, who assisted Eugene with his case, told Justice Brian Cottle to consider Eugene a first-time offender.

“He pleaded guilty. He has not wasted the court’s time. This is a matter that has been troubling him for a long time… He has these two young boys who go to school with the boy.  He has stolen their lunch money, rip their clothes, and wait for them to intimidate them … On one occasion his son came home with bruises to his face,” Alleyne explained to the court.

Eugene said he had visited the school principal on the matter, but her response was that the boy is a juvenile and he should go to the police. Eugene told the court that a police officer also advised him that that the boy was a juvenile.

“At trial the police say they have no records of reports. On that particular occasion the boy called him a buller so he lost his temper … as he said to the police he didn’t know why he slammed him he lost control … My Lord what we’re asking that he pay some sort of compensation to the boy and his parents,” Alleyne said. He also recommended giving Eugene a suspended sentence.

Before meting out a sentence Justice Cottle addressed the accused and condemned his behaviour.

“The thing that worries me most about this case is that you have five children who look to you not only for protection, but guidance. The message you are sending to your boys is that when they have a problem to solve it with violence … you could have killed this child; he sustained very, very serious injuries,” Justice Cottle said.

According to the father of five, he is aware his actions were wrong, and he has always taught his children that violence is not the best solution.

“I try my best to teach them [children] that no matter where they are violence is not going to pay. I know that my action was wrong and that the result of my actions I must pay for … I would like to let his friends and family know I am truly sorry,” he added.

In response to an inquiry from the judge, Eugene said even after the incident the bullying had continued.

“Your Honour it went on after I was in the hands of the police … It went on and on. My lawyer said she would send a paper for the Ministry of Education, his parents and the school, and then it stopped for a few months now,” he explained.

According to him, the boy is “alright” adding “I pass him on the road; in fact he has a case with my nephew….”

Justice Cottle placed Eugene on two-year bond and ordered him to pay $1,000.

“If you break that bond you will find yourself in jail in addition to that you’ll pay $1,000. You have that three-month suspended sentence hanging over you,” the judge warned.

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  1. February 18, 2010

    The brat needed a couple more tidbits of his own meds.

  2. Mabouche
    January 15, 2010

    Whether the kid was a bully or not the incident started after the young boy insulted the man. In any event, being insulted my the kid is no reason to attack and assault him in such a manner.

    If it were my kid that fool did that to… he would have been chopped so viciously that he would not be able to give his bogus ”i am sorry” plea at any court. This is just unacceptable and i am very disappointed that he was only fined $1000. Child abuse should not have a dollar amount attached to it ! ONLY IN DOMINICA !

  3. GOOD en EASY
    January 15, 2010

    hmmmmmm. It is very threatening on both sides. wrong signal by the adult. Little boy, there are challenges ahead of you, GO to school and learn you will need it. It may or may not have been at your advantage for such of an AWARD for your behaviour. 10 to 20 years down the road if the Lord tarries you will know if it was appropriate or not. PARENTS spanking is good when necessary (it is a form of medication) PARENTS please apply medication and take control. PARENTS strangers will not have the patience to give your children proper medication they will administer the wrong medication or over dose them. PARENTS take hid. You realise the man in question was protecting his interest and almost landed him at Vacabons Hotel? OK hmmmmm. PARENTS your kids NEED you, not by food, clothing,shelter and (CELLPHONES??????????????) only but also for DIRECTIONS and GUIDIANCE,

  4. bay front
    January 14, 2010

    de fadder do rite!

  5. tm
    January 14, 2010

    I witnessed the incident in question and I have quite a few observations to make. The defendant says that he went to the school’s Principal to discuss the issue and she advised him to refer the matter to the local police since the complainant is a juvenile. To those who claim that the Principal did not deal with the matter, I find your reasoning fallacious because it was not her call to “discipline” the child no matter how much she would have liked. There is a code of conduct for educators which they must follow and she did just that by offering the advice that she did. On another note, the article states that the police have no records of any reports filed by Mr. Eugene. So, it must be that Mr. Eugene never bothered to go through the appropriate channels (until he found himself in this predicament; bear in mind that Mr. Eugene only had his lawyer send a letter of complaint to the Ministry of Education after he was held by the Criminal Investigations Department for questioning) but rather take matters into his own hands and he did just that on November 20, 2009. On the day of the incident Mr. Eugene continued to inflict blows on the complainant even after onlookers as well as police tried to stop him. So you tell me if it was not premeditated. I am in no way condoning the complainant’s actions, this child most definitely needs to learn to respect people. To his parents/guardians, let me call on you to discipline him before someone else does it for you. Justice Cottle, I am of the opinion that your sentencing was too lenient; Mr. Eugene’s actions deserve to be condemned with a harsher punishment. .. ……With all said, let us hope that this sends a clear message to all concerned.

  6. Bob
    January 14, 2010

    I am very disappointed at the above comments regarding the assault of that kid. That was a really poor judgment call on the judge’s part. It simply shows how far removed we are from knowing what is right and what is wrong.

    This is a 10 yr old kid we’re talking about. The adult male could have handled it in a number of different ways. I myself was bullied at primary school all the way up to high school. It was both psychological and physical. Two things kept me from fighting back; it was the fact that my uneducated,ignorant mom would have beaten me some more as a form of discipline for getting into a fight and as I got older, the thought of being sentenced to prison for hurting someone in self-defense terrified me.

    you Dominicans are already very prone to violence, the judges action that it’s okay to smack a kid or anyone for that mater, if they are rude to you. It’s okay to let your anger get the best of you and deal with a 10 yr old bully, in what ever way you see fit.

    How many of you have given any thought to that 10yr old kid? There is no such thing as a bad kid folks; there is bad parenting skills and no parenting skills which is responsible for the widespread dysfunction in our society, but there is no such thing as a bad kid.

    I am the father of 2 kids and it would be just as upsetting to me, if they were being bullied at any stage of life; however, as kids, I would address it with their teachers in front of the kid who is bullying them and then with the kids parents, in the kids presence. I would probably go as far as having a talk with the kid who is being the bully in private as well. That is the approach of a civilized people. The approach you so often take is one of rage, anger, and violence; and that is wrong.

  7. just a thought
    January 14, 2010

    those school bullies need to learn to stop, this is a very serious problem. If it was my son who was being bullied I would have done the same thing. Raise your kids to respect others not insult and degrade people to feel better bout their insecurities.

  8. cello
    January 14, 2010

    Permit me

    I for one was aslo a victim of bullying in school. not physically bur Pschologically which is even worse. but i never dealt with it with violence. as i was no physically hurt but my parents knew. any way as it was a co ed school i presumed the the guys were madly in love with me and did not know how to show ii we were young… but it stoopped when i reached the fifth form

    I believe that the dad should have more control over his temper but then again he is a human being and had reach his maximum with complaints from the kids he loved and could not do other wise but use vilolence. at least he had the decency to admit he was wrong and apologised to the little thug and his parents.

    my advice to him is this teach his children to have a strong spiritual foundation and with that they will win all adversity all the time.

  9. Concerned
    January 13, 2010

    that little boy seems to be a real trouble maker. I’m sure he is not learning anything in school. I am not condoning that kind of behaviour from a grown man but I can only imagine the frustration that little boy put the man and his children through.

    Some children really badly brought up-the man sweating everyday to make a dollar to send his children to school and they coming home and complaining about one child making their lives miserable. I mean come on. That would frustrate any parent.

  10. Mz Pretty
    January 13, 2010

    the little boy may have met his match but the man should’ve had some jail time and be threatened with it. I don’t agree with the judge one bit. Call me cold hearted but if i were a judge it would not matter to me if it was the first time or not, I will give u jail time no matter the penalty. the more lenient we are with first time offenders the more they tend to repeat their offense.

  11. Godric
    January 13, 2010

    Hmm.. The father didn’t deserve to be brought on trial for this at all. If it was me I would’ve definitely done the same. People should understand the circumstances that surrounded that incident. The spoilt little hood rat deserved it and yet he still didn’t learn his lesson. I take it the parents aren’t condemning the actions of their dog of a son. The first thing I would do is file a lawsuit against the Parents, then the School for not dealing with the matter accordingly. This is another reason why I will never send any of my kids to public school. The level of unprofessional-ism within Public School staff administration is appalling and disgraceful.

  12. Karkabeff
    January 13, 2010

    Sounds like that little boy met his match. I am not tolerating what the gentleman did but someone had to stop that little bully on behalf of his parents, school and the ministry of education

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