Orange Hill man sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping his great niece
“ANY OFFENDERS who commit repeated acts of rape, especially upon children, can expect to receive consecutive sentences from this court.”
Justice Brian Cottle of the High Court made this promise before sentencing an Orange Hill man to 10 and five years imprisonment, for two counts of rape against his great niece, who is nearly 40 years his junior.
This case dated back to April 2012, when the great niece was living at the home of her grandmother, who is the convicted man’s sister. He and the girl were at this home alone, he went into the room, took off his clothes, and then took off her clothes, before violating her.
“She was at home, where she should have been safest, and you, who should have felt strong paternal urges to protect this child, you seized the opportunity, afforded by the absence of your sister, to violate the virtual complainant,” Cottle stated.
On the second occasion, the young child was sent to the great uncle’s house to borrow a cutlass. He used this as another opportunity to have sexual intercourse with her.
The complainant did not make the report to the police, it was the accused who made a report against another. From this report, his own crimes were discovered.
The young girl did not tell her family about the incidents, and only revealed it to a social welfare official. It was assumed that she did not tell the family members because she was sure they would not believe her.
“It’s no surprise that she did not complain to them about your actions,” Cottle noted, as the family members reacted by not believing her, when the social workers told them of the report.
There was apparently no interest in even hearing the complainant’s side. The grandmother and the aunt of the young child also testified on the side of the great uncle.
Defence Attorney Ronald Marks said that his 55-year-old client lives his adult life in isolation from the general community. He also said that he had 31-year-old and 12-year-old children.
As aggravating factors, the attorney admitted that the convicted is related to the young girl, that there is nearly 40 years between them, and that it happened twice.
For mitigating features he noted that his client had no previous convictions, and “he has never been even arrested before.”
No ‘excessive force’ was used on the child, he noted.
“From the facts that were laid out before you mi’lord, it is clear that he was the one who reported that a crime was taking place, albeit in relation to someone else,” Marks said.
He stated that if it were not for the man’s actions, he himself would not have been convicted.
Prosecutor for the crown, Karim Nelson, indicated that he could not agree with Marks that those were the only aggravating features.
“At the time of the commission of both of the offences, the virtual complainant was only 10 years old. That is different from disparity in age, disparity in age is a separate issue my lord,” Nelson argued.
The counsel also mentioned that there was some form of coercion. Recalling the evidence that the uncle had pushed the great niece onto the bed during the second incident, he further disclosed, “When she asked the prisoner what he’s doing, he said “Shut up!,” …that to me My Lord suggests a certain level of coercion.”
During sentencing, Justice Cottle stated, “I look at the harm of the victim, and I conclude that it must have been immense.” He also observed that the harm would have been made worse by the toxic family environment.
“You abused a position of trust, and when I couple that with the disparity in your ages, I also find that to be aggravating,” he continued. On the other side, he recognized an absence of ‘grauitous violence.’
“In this case there are two counts, and any offenders who commit repeated acts of rape, especially upon children, can expect to receive consecutive sentences from this court,” Cottle told the prisoner.
Therefore, 10 years imprisonment was allotted on the first offence, being brought down from 15 years by the fact that it was the Orange Hill man’s first offence.