Two Clare Valley men were, on Thursday, sentenced to a combined total of 48 years in jail for the July 18, 2014 repeated rape, buggery and indecent assault of a 15-year-old girl.
However, Jaranza “Pocho” Howe, 36, will only serve 20 years of his sentence, while Kozan “Deuce” Haywood, 26, will serve 14, as the sentences will run concurrently.
The men, who were represented by Counsel Grant Connell, had argued that their sexual encounter with the girl, who was visiting their village from another part of St. Vincent, was consensual.
The age of consent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is 15 years old.
Further, in SVG, non-consensual anal sex with someone is classified as buggery — which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison — rather than rape, which attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a notional sentence of 30 years.
On Nov. 18, after two hours of deliberation, a nine-member jury, comprising seven females and two males, convicted each of the men on all three counts of the indictment, by a seven-two majority.
The foreman told the judge that further deliberation was unlikely to result in unanimous verdicts.
During the trial, the girl told the court that the men had offered her alcohol at a bar where her cousin was dancing inside.
Rain began falling after they tricked her into leaving the bar and the men took her to a tree near a house.
Howe pulled the girl into the house, where the sexual assault began.
The victim told the court that she was crying when the attack began but the men responded aggressively then took turns raping and buggering her.
After the attack, Howe and Haywood forced the girl to shower before taking her back to the bar and intimidated her into keeping the assault a secret.
The following day, Haywood gave the teen a morning after pill.
The girl told the mother about the assault some days after, and when the child was examined 10 days after the attack, doctors found bruising of her vagina and anus.
The medical examination, however, concluded that the bruising to the anus could have resulted from hard stool.
They men denied having anal sex with the teen.
In handing down his sentence on Thursday, High Court judge Justice Brian Cottle placed the crime in the exceptionally serious category.
He noted the age difference between the men and the girl at the time, adding that their assault was coordinated.
Justice Cottle concluded that Haywood played a lesser role in the crime.
“He was the younger offender. He did not play the lead role. He himself did not indecently assault or bugger the complainant but he aided and abetted Howe to do so.”
For raping the teen, Justice Cottle sentenced Howe to a 20-year jail term and sentenced Haywood to 14 years.
Howe was sentenced to six years, while Haywood will serve four years for buggering the teen.
Howe received a 14-month sentence for indecently assaulting the girl, while Haywood was sentenced to 11 months.
The sentences will run concurrently and the 25 days spent on remand is to be deducted.