The police constable found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl will be sentenced on April 30 by Justice Christopher Birch.
Jason Andre Callender was found guilty on October 8, 2020, by a nine-member jury of the rape and serious indecency of the teen between June 1 and October 7, 2010.
Appearing in a virtual sitting of the No. 5A Supreme Court, a probation officer today read a pre-sentencing report in respect of the 38-year-old, of 6th Avenue, Durant’s Village, St James.
The officer, Louie Linton said family members described Callender as a helpful and caring individual who was non-violent and not abusive. He said Callender’s parents were shocked at the guilty verdict because they thought their son and the victim were in a relationship. The father recalled how Callender and the girl would have lunch at his residence on occasions.
Additionally, Callender’s partner said the two of them lived together and were in a relationship for two years. During that period, she said he was a pleasant, caring individual who displayed no abusive sexual tendencies toward her. Callender’s partner and the victim were sisters.
It was revealed that Callender joined the Royal Barbados Police Force in 2003 but is presently on suspension with half pay since 2011 as a result of the matter before the court.
He was awarded a commendation for good work in 2005 but in 2009 disciplinary charges were brought against him for neglect of duty and declaring a falsehood.
Over a period of six years, while he was on suspension, Callender was employed as a sales representative and was described as an excellent employee. The father of two has no previous convictions.
The court heard that while Callender accepts the decision of the jury he maintains that he did not rape or perform serious indecency on the girl. According to him, it was consensual.
The 16-year old victim said she was devastated, embarrassed and left with low self-esteem by the situation. She said Callender took her virginity leaving her bleeding for an entire week and it impacted negatively on her academic performance.
The girl, who is now in her 20s, is said to have also spent time in the psychiatric wards of two hospitals.
In the victim impact statement, she also stated that she never consented to have a sexual relationship with Callender and he took advantage of a vulnerable situation.
She believes that he is in the right location and should be there for a long time and also hopes he receives psychiatric help.
Callender was assessed as being at low risk of re-offending.
Crown Counsel Danielle Mottley submitted that, given the nature and seriousness of these offences, a custodial sentence would be justified in the matter.
Considering the penalties for the offences, she suggested a starting point of 18 years for the rape offence and eight years for the serious indecency offence, with the necessary downward adjustments.
Outlining the aggravating factors she spoke of the abuse of a position of trust where Callender was the complainant’s caretaker.
“This was an ongoing campaign of rape against a young [girl] in circumstances where she had nowhere else to go but to live with the now-convicted man,” she submitted. She also spoke of additional factors where the girl was subjected to rape over a period of time and no condom was used, exposing her to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Also mentioned was the degree of planning, the trauma caused, academic hindrance and psychiatric impact.
The mitigating factors in respect of Callender were his “clean”, favourable presentencing report and the assessment that he was at low risk of reoffending.
Counsel Samuel Legay said: “The court must look at what is fair, just and consistent as each case comes with varying circumstances. But the court’s duty is to allow those circumstances to be as consistent as possible to previous decisions given.”
Not denying that the offences were serious, Legay asked the court to consider that the matter was before the court since 2010. He asked the court to consider what happened in those years.
“We are dealing with our own specific matrix in Barbados… It was ten years before a man was alleged to have committed these offences, [the matter was] dismissed on two occasions in the lower court. I suggest to the court that there is other information or circumstances that we must consider,” Legay submitted.
He added: “Where there is an absence over a long period of time combined with evidence of good character, then the court may treat the combination of these as mitigating factors in favour of the offender.”
No previous convictions, Legay said, spoke volumes, as well as, the fact that Callender was tasked with protecting the ordinary Barbadian as a valuable member of the RBPF. He asked the court to also note his client’s clean record, young age and attitude in the matter.
Referencing Barbadian cases, he suggested a sentence of five years “going upward but not going past ten years” for the rape conviction. For the serious indecency conviction, he suggested two to five years.