Professional jockey Jonathan Michael Grant has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for hitting a teenager over the head with a hammer and raping her in St George three years ago.
The then 29-year-old of Jones Land, Villa Road, St Michael had pleaded not guilty to four counts – rape, serious indecency, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding. However, a jury found him guilty of the offences last year.
Grant met the then 16-year-old girl who was at secondary school via Facebook. They became social media friends, however she knew him only by the name Nathan.
On January 10, 2015, the girl attended lessons, which concluded around 7 p.m. When she exited the facility Grant was on the outside and he offered her a ride home. She accepted and got into the car but along the way he informed her the vehicle was having some problems.
The two got out of the vehicle and Grant made some checks. They then returned to the car but while the girl got in the front passenger seat, he entered the back seat.
Suddenly, she felt a blow to the right side of her head and started bleeding. Grant then ordered her out of the vehicle and struck her again before ordering the teen to remove her clothes, which she did out of fear.
The convicted man then gave her several orders before raping her and subsequently dropping her off at the bottom of her gap.
The police were contacted and Grant has maintained his innocence since then despite being found guilty by jury.
In handing down the ruling in the No. 5 Supreme Court today in the case prosecuted by Crown Counsel Neville Watson, Madam Justice Pamela Beckles told Grant who had been a jockey for ten years and had a previous conviction for assault, that the court had noted that despite the “overwhelming” evidence presented, he remained adamant that he did not harm the girl.
Looking at the nature and seriousness of the offence the High Court judge pointed out that violence was used in the commission of the crime with the use of a hammer to inflict injury and to force and instill fear in the child.
“You were 29, she was 16 . . . at least 13 years older . . . she [was] younger and more vulnerable,” the judicial officer said before reminding Grant that the girl had revealed that the events of that night had left her traumatized and betrayed by someone she had begun to trust. She also now found it difficult to trust males.
“There is a need for a strong message to be sent to society that the liaison between older men and girls of school age will not be tolerated,” Justice Beckles said, before imposing a starting sentence of 10 years for rape, six years for serious indecency and eight years for wounding with intent.
However, after weighing the mitigating and aggravating factors Beckles adjusted each sentence up by two years – resulting with 12 years for rape, eight years for serious indecency and ten for wounding with intent. The sentences will run concurrently.
Grant has already spent 1,489 days on remand, which was credited, as such he has seven years and 336 days left to serve at HMP Dodds.
Justice Beckles also ordered that he undergo counseling to assist him in managing his interpersonal relationships and any other area.
He has been advised to enroll in programmes at the prison, which will enable him to find employment when he is released.