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Dasilva’s sentence reduced

Dasilva’s sentence reduced


Cyril DaSilva has had two years taken off his 12-year prison sentence for having sex with a girl under the age of 10. However, his age still remains a mystery, as no birth certificate could be found for him at the Registry.{{more}}

At a sitting of the OECS Court of Appeal in Kingstown on Tuesday, October 6, lawyer Ronald Marks, in appealing DaSilva’s sentence, said the appellant’s age should have been thoroughly investigated prior to sentencing.

During DaSilva’s trial there was some discreprancy with regard to his age and the court just went by his word that he was 67 years old. Besides the fact that his correct age could not be ascertained, Marks said that the elderly man has since had two surgeries. The lawyer noted that he wrote to the Steward’s Office at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital for a copy of DaSilva’s medical record since July, but is yet to receive it.

Justice Gertel Thom handed down the custodial sentence on January 13, 2009, after the South Rivers man pleaded guilty to the charge.

The court heard that on September 9, 2007, the girl, who was eight years old at the time of the incident, was left at home alone by her mother who had gone to the mountain to farm. At about 11:30 a.m. the child went to the kitchen, which is detached from the house. While there, DaSilva entered, lifted her up and placed her on a bench. DaSilva then placed his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming and had sex with her.

Marks pointed out the starting point of DaSilva’s sentence was set too high by the court and the starting point should have been eight years. He added using 18 years as a starting point and reducing it to 12 was wrong. “The sentence given is almost tantamount to a death sentence…bearing in mind his medical condition, this appeal should be allowed,” stated Marks.

Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams noted that the age of the victim should also be taken into account and the fact that DaSilva has a previous conviction of a similar nature. In 1994, DaSilva was convicted on a charge of indecent assault and placed on two years probation. Williams noted that while Marks used DaSilva’s age as a mitigating factor, it also had some aggravating features. He said that DaSilva was old enough to be the child’s grandfather or even great grandfather.

The court of appeal judges told DaSilva what he did was horrendous, but, however, stated that the court was not one of vengeance, but a court of law. The judges noted that the case had some aggravating factors and that was one of the reasons why he was given a 12-year sentence. DaSilva’s sentence was then reduced to 10 years.(KW)