injured on head: Reagan Vegas

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Chopper pleads 'guilty with an explanation'

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

LESLIE Emmanuel, 66, appeared before Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan yesterday charged with maliciously wounding his neighbour minutes before the start of this year.

Emmanuel pleaded "guilty with an explanation" to the charge when he appeared before Cardenas-Ragoonanan at the Arima First Magistrate's Court.

Reagan Vegas, 33, was seated in the yard of his family's Kingston Street, Arouca home around 11.57 p.m. on December 31 when Emmanuel attacked him and chopped him on his head, the court heard.

Emmanuel, who used a Chinese chopper in the attack, said he was "taking front" because he anticipated that Vegas would do something to him this year.

He described the chopping as "self-defence".

When detectives investigating the incident approached Emmanuel, he said: "I did it, it is true," the court heard. Emmanuel also handed over a stainless steel Chinese chopper, which was presented as evidence.

Emmanuel was talkative but incoherent when he appeared before Cardenas-Ragoonanan.

Eventually, Emmanuel's sister left the public gallery and walked to the prosecutor's desk.

She said her brother had been a patient at St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital two years ago.

The elderly woman told Cardenas-Ragoonanan that she called the "mental place" because Emmanuel had been acting up lately.

Emmanuel denied he was suffering from mental problems.

Emmanuel said he knew Vegas, whom he described as "very, very miserable", had a plan to hurt him this year so he was only being proactive.

Vegas was seated in the court with his head bandaged.

He told the magistrate he was feeling "okay".

Cardenas-Ragoonanan warned Emmanuel that he could not take matters into his own hands.

He was ordered to return to St Ann's Psychiatric Hospital for an evaluation.

Emmanuel was unrepresented, while the State was represented by Sgt Valerie Leon.

The matter has been adjourned to January 17.

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