Men guilty of rape, buggery, indecent assault of girl 15; verdict not unanimous
After two hours of deliberation on Monday afternoon, a nine-member jury comprising seven females and two males failed to reach unanimous verdicts on a case which involved six counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and one count of buggery of a girl aged 15.
The crimes against the 15-year-old girl were alleged to have occurred on July 18, 2014, when she went to visit a relative at a coastal village on the Leeward side of the island.
Two men, 36-year-old Jaranza ‘Potro’ Howe and 26-year-old Kozan ‘Deuce’ Haywood of Clare Valley who were strangers to her, were arrested and charged in connection with the crimes. They took turns raping her.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines, at age 15, a girl can give consent to have sex.
The men did not deny having sexual intercourse with the girl. The defense’s case was that the sex was consensual.
The prosecution’s case was that it was a matter of rape.
On the first count of rape against Howe, the foreman said the jury was split 7-2.
Presiding Judge Justice Brian Cottle asked the foreman if there was any likelihood that if the jury were to return to the jury room to further deliberate they would come back with a unanimous verdict. He then asked the foreman to consult with the other members of the jury panel to get their view on the question.
After a brief consultation, the foreman told Justice Cottle it would not make a difference.
On each of the three counts of rape against Haywood and the three counts against Howe, the jury said guilty by the same 7-2 split.
The jury also returned a guilty verdict to the charges of indecent assault by Howe and Haywood, by the 7-2 split.
In relation to the charge of buggery brought against Haywood, the jury also said guilty, 7-2.
Following the verdicts, defense counsel Grant Connell made an application to the court for the matter to be adjourned for two weeks pending the sentencing.
The Judge granted the application for further information to be provided by the defense and prosecution. He also said that the court needed an impact assessment on the victim.
The prosecution was led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sejilla McDowald with assistance from Rene Simmons.
Howe and Haywood are scheduled to be sentenced on December 11, 2019.