Domestic violence: Alcoholic man sentenced to jail time and treatment

POSTED: 11/21/14 12:12 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Carlos Alberto Gibbs Encarnacion yesterday morning to a 12-month prison sentence with 3 years of probation. Of the sentence, 7 months are suspended and the 93 days the defendant spent in pretrial detention are deducted from the time he still has to serve. Upon his release, Gibbs will have to report to Turning Point an undergo treatment for alcohol abuse as well as an anger management training.

The defendant, who celebrates his 37th birthday on Monday in the Pointe Blanche prison, threatened an ex-girlfriend with a machete on June 25, stabbed his wife in her left breast with a kitchen knife on May 3, and ill-treated his wife on September 16, five days after he had been conditionally released from pretrial detention. Police re-arrested the defendant on Tuesday.

Gibbs Encarnacion committed all of his violent crimes when he was heavily under the influence of alcohol. In June, he had been drinking one-and-a-half bottle of Brugal rum after work. On his way home he found a machete, then saw a woman whom he claims was his girlfriend talking on the porch of her home with another man. Jealousy overtook him and as he approached the house, the woman fled inside where her mother called the police. “Come outside. I will kill you,” the defendant allegedly screamed.

In court, Gibbs Encarnacion claimed that he was not after the woman at all, but that he wanted to talk to the man on the porch that had started swearing at him.

Almost two months earlier, on May 3, the defendant had a fight at his home with what the court thought to be “another girlfriend” but who turned out to be his wife. He stabbed his wife with a kitchen knife in her chest cavity. There was a witness to the incident who confirmed this, saying that the victim had defended herself against the attack with a piece of wood. Gibbs’ father had intervened and prevented that things went completely out of control.

“This happened as you said,” Gibbs told Judge Rick Smid. “I was drunk.”

“You do crazy things when you are drunk,” the judge observed.

Gibbs’s pretrial detention was suspended on September 11 on the condition that he would report to Turning Point to undergo treatment for alcohol abuse. This never happened: three days after his release, Gibbs became the victim of a traffic accident and he spent 18 days in the Louis-Constant Fleming hospital on the French side. Afterwards, he was at home, unable to speak and with no access to a phone or internet, the defendant claimed as the reason for not going to Turning Point.

Judge Smid did not buy the story: “There is always a way to get a message out, whether you are able to speak or not.”

Gibbs’s explanation does not make much sense, because prosecutor Karola van Nie confirmed that he had been conditionally released on September 11, but that he had ill-treated his wife in another daze of drunkenness on September 16.

Van Nie said that the woman, who was present in court, had come to the prosecutor’s office after the defendant’s conditional release. “She said that she is scared to death of him. Should we then send him away again with all the risks that this involves? This defendant has a problem with alcohol and with aggression and he totally lacks respect for women. It is the task of the prosecutor’s office to create a safe environment and to prevent a repeat. He could have stabbed her to death. On top he continues to cause trouble in his neighborhood.”

The prosecutor demanded 12 months of imprisonment with 2 years of probation. Of the demand, 4 months are suspended. During the probation period, the prosecutor demanded that the defendant undergoes treatment at Turning Point, but not ambulant.

Attorney Geert Hatzmann said that his client had been clean for two months and he pleaded for a pragmatic solution. “Locking him up now is not good for his wife and not good for his children.” Hatzmann asked the court to give his client one last change and to allow for ambulant treatment by Turning Point. “Too many people will suffer by locking him up.”

Gibbs offered apologies for his actions and assured the court that he is a changed man. Earlier he told the court that he has a daughter in Guadeloupe, whom he supports monthly with $375, and three children in the Dominican Republic, to whom he sends $400 every month; all this from an estimated monthly income of $1,500 as a car mechanic.

Gibbs told the court he has legal status on the French side, though he has been living with his wife on the Dutch side for more than eight years.

Judge Smid told the defendant during the handling of his case that there are 3.5 billion women in the world. “And you choose to ill-treat the one you love,” he said. The judge considered the charges proven. “All this domestic violence happened under the influence of alcohol and because you are jealous. You will have to change your behavior. And that cannot happen with voluntary treatment.”

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