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Erin man gets 5 years in jail for bar killing

HIGH COURT judge Anthony Carmona yesterday sentenced a man to five years in jail for the stabbing death of a fellow resident in 2007.

The prisoner, Joel Seerattan, 28, of Erin, south Trinidad, had earlier pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing Morriso Sylvan during an argument outside a bar.

In passing sentence, Carmona said, "The court has a responsibility to society at large to send a message that violence, resulting in death outside of rumshops, will not be tolerated."

He mentioned several recent stabbing incidents, including the death of father of twin girls Michael Williams, who was stabbed at his Marabella home last week by a woman who is in police custody.

Carmona also spoke of the stabbing death of Akil Adams on the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain, last weekend.

The judge also mentioned the death of Keston Huggins, who was liming along Ariapita Avenue last Friday when he was stabbed in the chest with an ice-pick. Huggins died on arrival at hospital.

It was the State's case that around 11.45 p.m. on July 6, 2007, Seerattan was at Cool Scene Bar in Erin when he, Sylvan and other men were involved in an argument.

Seerattan was slapped and fell to the ground. He got up, took a knife from his pocket and stabbed Sylvan in the shoulder.

Seerattan, also known as Curry, then ran away. Sylvan was pronounced dead at the Point Fortin Area Hospital.

A post-mortem showed he died from a stab wound which severed a major artery.

Bloodwork showed Sylvan had an alcohol level five times over the legal limit and narcotics in his system.

Carmona said he had a "toxic mix of Puncheon rum and marijuana".

He said Sylvan's death occurred in a "very provocative environment", but the stabbing showed an "indifference to the sanctity of life".

Carmona said had the matter gone before a jury, Seerattan would have faced 12 years hard labour.

Seerattan had two previous convictions for possession of marijuana and had served 12 months in jail.

"You took a life...you brought great pain and anguish on a family in Erin," the judge said.

—Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

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