The former police officer who was, last month, found guilty of having sex with a 12-year-old girl to whom he had given a ring and a cellphone was, on Friday, sentenced to 45 years in jail.
However, Eugene Noel, 32, will only serve 30 years of that sentence, as some of the sentences will run concurrently.
Justice Brian Cottle handed down the sentences at the High Court, in Kingstown, during a sentencing hearing in which Noel challenged his conviction and accused the jury of not considering all the facts in the case.
He continued to deny the girl’s claim and told the court of his practices during sex, saying that they differ significantly from the girl’s account.
Noel also used the sentencing hearing to attack the media, saying that media reports after his conviction had referred to past accusations against him of similar nature.
“These things can cause great public alarm,” he said, adding that that had been the case with the Morgans, three members of a religious family who were jailed this year for dousing a man with hot liquid in 2016.
Noel told the court that he does not think that he should have been charged for the offences which the crown successfully argued that he committed on Jan. 13, Feb. 3 and Feb. 14, 2014 — when he was no longer a police officer.
A nine-member jury returned a guilty verdict in November.
The trial saw the use of a provision under the Witness Special Measures Act which prevented Noel, who represented himself, from cross-examining the virtual complainant directly.
Instead, the cross examination was done by a lawyer hired by the state to perform this duty on his behalf.
The court heard that Eugene was involved in a “relationship” with the child, a secondary school student, who he befriended after meeting her on the street.
Evidence led by the prosecution showed that the man boarded the same bus as the girl and kissed her during the journey after that first encounter.
He placed a ring on her finger and went to her school the first day of the following school term.
On that day, Jan. 13, 2014, he took the girl to the restroom of a nearby restaurant and had unprotected sex with her — her first sexual encounter.
Sometime after, he went back to the school and attempted to take the girl to the restroom of the same restaurant but the child refused.
He took away the ring from the child and gave her a cellular phone to remain in contact with him.
He had sex with the girl three times on Feb. 3, 2014 — his birthday — when he invited her to spend the day with him at a house.
He had sex with the girl twice on Feb. 14, also at a house.
Police nabbed Noel after he turned up to the girl’s school in response to a letter that the school’s principal had given the child to take home to her parents.
The child had read and had told Noel about the letter, which was summoning the girl’s parents to explain her absence to school authorities.
However, when Noel turned up for the meeting with the principal, the school official became suspicious and ordered him to leave the premises.
The police were contacted and Noel was later arrested.
The girl told the police that she believed that she was in a relationship with Noel.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Cottle said the facts of the case put Noel’s crimes at such a level that he would begin with a notional sentence of 20 years on the first count of the indictment.
Justice Cottle said he would not add any time for the aggravating factors and would not deduct any for the mitigating.
For the sex act committed on Feb. 3, 2014, he sentenced the man to five years on each count to run concurrently, but consecutive to the 20 years.
For the sex acts on Feb. 14, Justice Cottle sentenced Noel to five years on each count, to run concurrently, but consecutive to the other jail terms.
As he was being escorted to prison, Noel told iWitness News that he will appeal his sentence and apply for “a stay of conviction and sentencing”.
Noel was one of several persons sentenced Friday for unlawful sex with girls under the age of 13.
The sentences handed down in the other cases ranged from two to 15 years.