A man in his 40s was slapped with a 16-year sentence for raping and committing an act of serious indecency on his seven-year-old stepdaughter almost a decade ago, which a High Court judge said was an abuse of trust.
However, after deductions allowed by Madame Justice Pamela Beckles, he will only serve just over half that time – eight years and 331 days – behind bars.
He had been found guilty of committing the crimes against the minor between May 1 and June 30, 2013. He was, however, found not guilty of buggering her.
In passing sentence on the man in the No. 5 Supreme Court on Monday, Justice Beckles told him that while he should have been “protecting the girl from danger”, he instead abused her trust.
The judge said she had also taken into consideration the fact that the man had used threats to stop the victim from reporting the matter; the significant age gap between the convicted rapist, who was in his 30s at the time of the offence, and the victim; and the prevalence of sexual exploitation of female minors by adult men.
“The rape of a child where there has been abuse of trust cannot be minimised and is of a very serious nature, and the offender must expect a lengthy sentence which reflects the court and the public’s intolerance for such offences,” Justice Beckles said.
She told the convicted man she believed 15 years was an appropriate starting point for the rape and 10 years for the charge of serious indecency, and both starting points would be adjusted upward by one year as the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors.
The seven years and 34 days which he had been on remand at Dodds Prison were then deducted, leaving him to serve a further eight years and 331 days for the rape and three years 311 days for the serious indecency. The sentences will run concurrently.
“In my judgement, justice and the protection of the public can and should be achieved by this long sentence,” Justice Beckles said.
She also ordered him to enrol in educational and vocational programmes during his term of imprisonment.
Principal Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney appeared on behalf of the State.
The convicted man’s attorney, Lalu Hanuman, had filed an appeal against the conviction back in June on the grounds that it was “unsafe and unsatisfactory”. The appeal is pending.