Bus driver Edison Kurt Pemberton was on March 17, 2017 sentenced to four years and seven months in jail for the November 2015 brutal cutlass attack on his then-girlfriend, Bianca Blanchard.
The incident took place at her workplace in Roseau.
Pemberton pleaded guilty the charge of grievous bodily harm with intent in January 2017.
Justice Victoria Charles-Clarke then ordered a social inquiry report on Pemberton.
That report painted him as a peaceful person and that incident was out of character.
Brief facts of the case
Bianca Blanchard and Edison Kurt Pemberton were in a relationship and the two lived together at a house in Pointe Michel.
On November 23, 2015 both left home at about 7:15 am on a bus driven by Pemberton. At about 10:00 am, Blanchard received a call while at work and as a result went to the Pointe Michel bus stop and boarded a bus for her home in Pointe Michel.
On arrival, she attempted to open the door but it was locked. She used her keys and on entry, met Pemberton in the house and he said to her, “somebody call you already.”
She also saw a young lady in her bedroom and asked her what she was doing in her house. Pemberton told her that he had brought her to use the washroom and the young lady repeated the same thing.
He then told the young lady to “go” and in the process held on to Blanchard who asked him to hand over the keys for the house, which he did. They both left the house and he followed her to the bus stop and insisted that he had nothing with the young lady.
The two took a bus and left for Roseau but stopped briefly at Newtown and then went back to work.
Pemberton then went to Blanchard’s workplace about an hour later asking for the key to the house so he could collect his belongings. She refused, telling him that he had damaged her furniture in her house the last time and the matter had gone to court and he was yet to pay the $10,000 fine.
She then called the Court section to verify if he had paid and was told no. She reminded him that if he did not behave she would be calling them to arrest him.
She also told him that later she would get the police and then have him come for his belongings.
Not pleased Pemberton told Blanchard that he would be back.
He returned later with a cutlass wrapped in cream paper and said to her, “you want me to go to jail…I will kill you and go jail.”
He then started hitting her with the cutlass and told her that her niece would be next.
He swung several blows towards her neck but she put up both her hands and started screaming.
Pemberton then left and went to the Roseau Police station and gave himself up to the police.
Among her injuries were a 20-cm wound to right hand; a 9-cm wound to right hand; a 6-and a 5-cm wound to left forearm among many other injuries.
She was immediately taken to surgery and spent a number of days at the Princess Margaret Hospital and was unable to use both hands.
The doctor said that she will never get 100 percent use of the hands again, both are now deformed and she is doing continuous therapy.
Pemberton’s lawyer Wayne Norde, in his mitigation, told the court the while he admits that the facts are “not pretty” he begged of the court to “temper justice with mercy” and be lenient on his client who was remorseful and willing to apologize to the victim in open court.
Norde also said that the behaviour was “uncharacteristic” of his client who felt that some “supernatural forces had beseeched him on that day.”
The maximum sentence is 10 years.
Justice Victoria Charles-Clarke said the aggravating aspects of the case were that the attack was premeditated, it was a case of domestic violence, a cutlass was used and the Blanchard continues to experience trauma and Pemberton was “unwilling to accept full responsibilities for his action, blaming it on supernatural forces.”
The Judge used seven years as her starting point and gave him the 1/3 reduction for his early guilty plea and sentenced him to four years and seven months.
She also ordered counseling for anger management.
The one year and four months spent on remand were taken as ‘time spent’ from the sentence.