Justice Brian Cottle handed down the sentences on Askey Roberts, 22, and Kenny Edwards, 24, of Lowmans Hill, at the High Court on Friday after a lengthy mitigation by counsel Duane Daniel, who had asked the court to give the men asuspended sentence.
In his submission, Daniel read affidavits from the girl and her mother, in which they each said they had forgiven the men and did not want them to go to jail.
The women said that the men’s incarceration would negatively affect their families since there are major financial contributors.
Daniel also asked the court to allow the men to read statements they had prepared, in which they
The lawyer also cited 19th century U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, who said, “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”
He even invoked God, telling the judge, “My lord, I ask that you be merciful and forgiving, like your namesake, the Lord… I ask that as difficult as this case might be in respect of a custodial sentence that you see it within your power to impose a suspended sentence.”
Justice Cottle said he was “richly moved by the fact that virtual complainant and her mother have seen it fit to forgive you. That is to your credit. There still remains the fact that you have committed a serious offence…”.
Roberts and Edwards had pleaded guilty last month to a charge that on July 12, 2014, at LowmansHill, they had sex with a girl under the age of 13.
The court heard that the child was returning home from Kingstown, where her mother had sent her to purchase some items.
She was walking in Lowmans Hill to home in the Lower Spring area when she saw Roberts and Edwards, who were both at Edwards’ grandmother’s house.
The girl said nothing to either
She then saw both men come out from the house and began walking ahead of her and were talking to each other, but she could not hear what they were saying.
As the child was passing one Eldon’s house in the area, Roberts held on to her hand and told her, “Girl, come gi’ me sex.”
The girl did not respond to what was said to her and Roberts continued to hold on to the child and led her inside the yard of Eldon’s house and took her under Eldon’s house.
Edwards was also present and stayed a way off, at the steps of the house, appearing to act as a look-out for Roberts, who, by then, was with the child under the house, had told her to remove her pants and underwear. She complied and said nothing.
He then took from his pants pocket what appeared to be a condom and placed the barrier method on his penis.
He told the child to adopt a particular position then proceed to have sex with her.
After his crime, Edwards told the child to remain in the same position and he went back to the steps were Edwards was sitting.
Edwards then went under the house and had sex with the girl after putting on what appeared to be a condom.
After the act, Edwards ran because the child’s mother came
The child’s mother then began to question her but she did not answer.
The mother took the child home and questioned her further about why she was under the house.
The child did not respond until her mother beat her, at which point she told her mother that the men had had sex with her.
The men were arrested and had denied the allegation but were later indicted and went on to plead guilty last month.
In mitigation, Daniel told the court that the now 16-year-old virtual complainant, with the consent of her mother, had signed an affidavit indicating that she would not like for the men to spend time in prison or for them to receive a minimal sentence.
Both the girl and her mother said that the defendant had
Both the girl and the mother, in their individual affidavits, said that they have forgiven the men and believe that they have
In the girl’s affidavit, she said that she had not wanted to come to court to give evidence in the matter and had only done so because she was summoned.
Daniel told the court that the girl had indicated that she would have loved to come to court to express her feelings directly during the sentencing, but could not do so because she had exams.
The lawyer said that it would appear that the virtual complainant is on the road to recovery, has made an effort to put the incident behind her and has no animosity toward the defendants.
In handing down the sentence, justice Cottle noted that the maximum sentence for the
He, however, said that there is a way in which the court looks at those matters in arriving at an appropriate sentence.
The judge said he first looked at the harm that they have caused by the
He said that the learning suggests that the
Regarding the aggravating features, the judge said that the
He said that the mitigating features were no level of gratuitous violence, no pregnancy or diseases resulted, no abhorrent perversions, and no relevant previous conviction.
The judge noted that the defendants were young at the time and have expressed remorse.
Justice Cottle noted that the maximum sentence in such a case is 30 years imprisonment.
He said that starting at the notional 4.5 years imprisonment relevant in the case and deducting for their personal characteristics, including their age, guilty pleas
He said that the learning suggests that he deduct one-third of the sentence for the guilty plea.
Justice Cottle further said he has to consider the classical criteria of deterrence, rehabilitation, prevention
He said that while Daniel had argued that his clients had rehabilitated themselves, the court still has to send a message to other young men that this is not the type of