Baby-killer also gets 15 years on appeal: Court underlines parliament’s failure to effectuate legislation

POSTED: 07/6/14 5:46 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice sentenced Dalton Danelle Le Blanc this week on appeal to 15 years of imprisonment for killing baby-boy Mark Anthony Reid Morgan in a gruesome manner on April 2 of last year in Middle Region. The judges note in their ruling the lack of the legal option to put the psychotic killer at the disposal of the government (a so-called tbr- or tbs-measure). “Based on St. Maarten law this is currently not possible, though there is every reason to impose such a measure.”

When the Court in First Instance sentenced Le Blanc in October of last year (also to 15 years), it expressed its opinion about the lack of the tbr-option in much stronger terms. The court’s criticism targeted the parliament, but this had not resulted in any action from the legislators.

The Court in First Instance described the lacking tbr-option as a serious deficiency. “If no treatment can be ordered in the context of this measure, treatment completely depends on the will of the defendant. He is suffering from a disease for which he will have to take medication for the rest of his life. Whether he does this depends on his insight in his disease and whether he is faithfully taking his medication. Currently there is not a single guarantee that – in the case of just a prison sentence – the defendant at a certain point in time will be released in a better psychological condition. In the new criminal code, it is possible to impose tbr. It is the responsibility of the legislator to make these articles take effect.”

The court ruling states that there is a possibility to use the instrument of preferential treatment to let the tbr-measure go into effect on short notice.

The Le Blanc case could have triggered legislative action, but the impotent parliament did not react at all to the situation.

Le Blanc, 26 at the time he committed the crime, killed baby boy Mark Anthony Reid Morgan during a psychotic attack of religious madness. The details of the killing are too gruesome for words. A psychiatric report revealed that Le Blanc suffers from psychosis and a mental disorder in terms of paranoid schizophrenia. The report noted furthermore that the killer’s belief systems are “of morbid origin” but that he has acknowledged that killing the infant was wrong. “The nature of his delusions and hallucinatory experiences could likely have impaired his insight and judgment to make a connection between the act being legally prohibited and the wrongfulness of the act,” the psychiatrist wrote.

Like the Court in First Instance, the appeals court acquitted le Blanc of premeditated murder and sentenced him for manslaughter.

The prosecution demanded 20 years of imprisonment for murder, arguing that Le Blanc had had sufficient time to reflect on what he was doing. The convict stated that he had heard from God that the baby was evil and that he had to kill it “because nothing is going to change.”

The appeals court found however that Le Blanc’s state of mind at the time he committed the crime limited his insights in his actions, due to paranoid schizophrenia. “The moment he was under the delusion that God ordered him to kill the baby, he immediately conducted a number of actions to execute this order,” the court ruling states.

The court did not follow the defense’s argument that Le Blanc’s state of mind ought to result in acquittal. The court also did not accept Le Blanc’s suggestion that the baby was already dead when he entered its home in Middle Region.

In sentencing, the court considered the violent way Le Blanc robbed the just 2-months old baby-bot of his life, the extreme vulnerability of the little victim, the unfathomable sorrow this caused to its family, the seriously shocked legal order and the need to protect the society against the defendant.

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