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Four in St.
Martin convicted of gay bashings

Four in St.
Martin convicted of gay bashings

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Four people were convicted Thursday in St. Martin of an attack on two gay men from New York that left one of them with brain damage.

Four people were convicted Thursday in St. Martin of an attack on two gay men from New York that left one of them with brain damage. Glen Cockly, Micheline Delaney, Allan Daniel, and Michel Javois were found guilty of public violence and grievous bodily harm in the beating last April of Ryan Smith and Richard Jefferson, producers for CBS News, the AP reports. All are residents of the French side of the Caribbean island except for Javois, who hails from the nearby French island of Guadeloupe. The attack happened on the Dutch side of St. Martin on April 6, when Smith and Jefferson were assaulted by the group when they were leaving a bar with friends, in an incident the two men describe as a hate crime. However, the public prosecutor in the case, Taco Stein, disputed that description, saying that sexuality had nothing to do with it. "Being gay was not the issue here," he told the AP, "but meaningless violence to annoy other people. These suspects were out there to cause trouble." Smith, 26, a producer for 48 Hours who sustained a serious head injury in the attack that left him temporarily unable to read or speak properly, strongly disagreed. "It was because we were gay--period. There is no question," he said. "I really hope that anybody who knows about this case doesn't simply write it off as...public violence. This was an attack on someone based on who they are." Javois was given a sentence of six years in prison for leading the attack, although he continues to deny being involved in it. Cockly and Daniel were sentenced to three years each, while Delaney, who apparently tried to stop the attack, received a six-month sentence. Jefferson, a senior broadcast producer for the CBS Evening News weekend edition, questioned the length of the sentences. "Is six years or three years or six months the proper penalty for permanently changing the lives of two tourists who came to 'the Friendly Island,' " he wrote in a statement, citing St. Martin's description of itself. "Instead of friendliness, a pack of residents greeted us, as the judge noted, with vicious discrimination and contempt that almost killed us." (The Advocate)

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