A burglar who was met standing outside the bedroom of a 3-year-old girl as she slept at midnight was on Friday jailed for three years.
Senior Magistrate Rickie Burnett handed down the sentence on Sebastian John, a 54-year-old welder of Ottley Hall, who, in 2009, was jailed for seven years for attempted rape.
John was found guilty of a charge that on Aug. 19, 2018, at Ottley Hall, he entered the dwelling house of Eucina Porter as a trespasser with intent to commit an offence, to wit assault.
The matter was finally disposed of on Friday after a number of adjournments for various reasons, including one in 2020, when John was removed from the court because of a chicken pox outbreak at the prisons.
The facts of the case as they emerged at the trial, are that Porter, then 58, lived in a one-story house, which had wooden windows and doors, including a door to the back of the house.
The property was fenced by hedges and a concrete perimeter wall.
Porter knows John very well as they are neighbours.
On Aug. 18, 2018, about 9 p.m., Porter put her 3-year-old granddaughter to sleep in a bedroom and went into her bedroom, which is located opposite the toddler’s room. Both rooms were separated by a wooden door.
Four hours later, about 12:45 a.m., the following day, Porter opened the bedroom door to check on the child. The light was on and Porter saw John standing in the child’s room.
John was naked from the waist down and was holding his penis in his right hand.
Porter recognised John and, addressing him by his nickname, said, “Bassy way the f*** you doing in my house? Way you doing here? Who invite you?”
John responded, “O Gard! Ah sorry! Ah sorry!”
He then exited the house through a door towards the back of the house.
The matter was reported to the police and John was arrested but denied the allegation.
In handing down his verdict on Friday, Burnett told John that based on Porter’s evidence, there was “absolutely no doubt” in his mind that he was guilty.
“None whatsoever,” Burnett said.
He read from the notes of evidence where Porter told the court what she had said to John when she saw him in her house, including calling him by his nickname.
The magistrate said that looking at John’s record, his actions in Porter’s house were consistent with his last offence.
“Though it is since 2009, it tells somethings about you,” Burnett said and noted that the High Court had given John a long sentence for attempted rape.
“What were you doing in the woman’s house? What were you doing in the woman’s house?” Burnett asked John.
“It is a good thing she was awake. She went to check on her granddaughter. What were you going to do, sir?” Burnett said.
“What is wrong with you, Sebastian John?” the magistrate further stated.
“You spent seven years in prison for this type of behaviour. That was not your first time in prison,” he said, noting that John’s last conviction was in 2009.
The senior magistrate noted that John committed the extant crime in 2018, adding, “it shows that there is something happening to you”.
The magistrate again asked John why he had gone into the house.
The defendant scratched his head and said, “I don’t know what really going on with me now.”
He immediately told the court he has three children, aged 17, 18, “and I think is 20.
“I am the only support for the children. The mother is diagnosed with cancer and one of them is writing CXC this year. I am under a lot of stress and pressure,” John told the court.
He, however, said that the children live with their mother in Diamond.
“Hold on — 17, 18 and 20. Same mother?” Burnett asked.
John said yes.
Burnett told John that what he did is unacceptable.
“Persons should be allowed to live in their home and ought not to have an adult male burglarise their homes and to be found with his penis in his hand and a lady is in the house and a child,” Burnett said.
He said those are very aggravating features of the offence.
“It is clear what you were going to do. It is not hard to draw a reasonable inference based on the circumstance in this matter,” Burnett said.
In her submission on sentencing, the prosecutor, acting Corporal of Police, Corlene Samuel, said she remembers clearly that Porter told the court that John was at the toddler’s bedroom door.
“That is frightening,” she said and noted that John has previous convictions of a similar nature.
Samuel was saying, “I believe that the sentence” when Burnett interjected, “Well, he is going to prison. There is no doubt at all that a custodial sentence would be imposed.”
He said this would be the case although John had spoken about his children.
Burnett told John that the court had looked at the sentencing guidelines and had established a starting point of two years and six months in prison.
He said the aggravating features of the offence included the time of the offence, and the fact that John was found outside a child’s bedroom.
The court found no mitigating features of the offence and increased the sentence by four months.
Aggravating for the offender was his previous convictions for burglary and attempted rape.
Burnett said that although these offences were committed a long time ago, he would increase the sentence by a further two months, taking it to three years.
He said that John had shown some remorse.