The Barbados man who attacked trans activist Alexa Hoffman with a meat cleaver was ordered yesterday to pay her U.S. $230 in order to avoid serving prison time.
Caribbean/Canadian LGBT rights activist Maurice Tomlinson and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network reported in a press release:
Sentencing handed down in violent attack on trans woman in Barbados
April 8, 2019 — Brandon Coward, who attacked Barbadian trans woman Alexa Hoffmann with a meat cleaver on February 18, 2018, was today convicted in the Oistins Magistrates Court by Magistrate Elwood Watts and ordered to compensate Alexa BD$460 (about CAD$306) [about U.S. $230] or face three months in prison. The gruesome attack left Alexa with serious injuries, including to her throat.
Alexa is a well-known trans activist from Barbados. With the support of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, she organized and led the country’s inaugural Pride march in 2017.
Alexa is also the lead claimant in the first-ever legal challenge to the country’s anti-sodomy law, which is the worst in the Western Hemisphere and can result in life imprisonment. The Legal Network is also supporting Alexa in this ground-breaking court action against a draconian law that was imposed on Barbados during colonization.
Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley has herself noted during her tenure as Barbados’ Attorney-General that this law contributes to serious human rights violations against LGBTQ Barbadians, and has fueled a vastly disproportionate HIV infection rate amongst LGBTQ people who are driven away from effective HIV interventions.
Coward was convicted after he changed his plea from “Not Guilty” to “Guilty.”. Coward was initially charged on February 23, 2018 for the attack and was given bail in the sum of BD$2,000 (about CAD$1,330); however, he subsequently absconded bail and was not apprehended until about one year after first being charged.
During that year, Alexa lived in constant fear that Coward would return to kill her to prevent her from testifying against him. Alexa was forced to take extreme measures, including spending nearly all of her life savings on a new security system for her home, staying indoors for days on end, and pleading with the public to help locate her attacker. Amazingly, Coward denied using a meat cleaver to attack Alexa and instead said that he wounded her using his fists; however, a medical report from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital explained that the wounds Alexa suffered were consistent with being struck with a sharp blade.
While officers of the Royal Barbados Police Force stated that Coward was known to the courts for matters involving burglary, among other things, they were unable to produce a conviction card. But records showed, corroborated by his own admission, that Coward was previously charged and has other charges pending before the courts. Alexa’s attack is apparently the first conviction for Coward.
Alexa is relieved that Coward has been apprehended but dismayed at the very short sentence handed down against him. Barbados is a very small society and Alexa is concerned that Coward could return to attack her again.
- Barbados: A brush with death, a vigil for trans murder victims (
- Rising transgender murder rate: 369 since last fall (
- We need to do better: Barbados Pride for me as a trans woman (
- Barbados: To stop violence, first stop anti-LGBTQ music (July 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Barbados: LGBT community targets anti-transgender song (July 2018, 76crimes.com)
- My Barbados petition: ‘the difference between life and death’ (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Anti-gay laws ‘damage human rights and health of all Barbadians’ (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Here’s why activists need international help vs. Barbados (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Launching an Inter-American challenge to Barbados anti-LGBT laws (June 2018, 76crimes.com)
- With a boost from Rihanna, Barbados rejects homophobia (May 2018, 76crimes.com)
- The harshest anti-gay law in the Western Hemisphere (March 2018, 76crimes.com)
- Barbados Pride combats nation’s anti-LGBT hatred (November 2017, 76crimes.com)
- In Barbados, anti-gay march ends in mini-Pride Parade (October 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Barbados training: Police learn about LGBTI community (March 2017, 76crimes.com)
- Barbados protests seek repeal of harsh buggery law (August 2015, 76crimes.com)