A 52-year-old self-employed diver, of Prospect, is slated to be sentenced today (Monday) at High Court No.1 for attempting to bugger a boy.
Tyrone Antoine’s sentencing was scheduled for last Friday but was adjourned to allow Justice Brian Cottle to consider the additional submissions of the Crown and defence.
Antoine, who is represented by Counsel Grant Connell, pleaded guilty to the charge against him.
In her submission, Crown Counsel Rose-Ann Richardson asked the court to consider that the case is one in which force was used.
She said that according to the facts, Antoine held and restrained the virtual complainant.
Richardson asked the court to consider this an aggravating factor of the offence.
The Crown argued that based on regional cases, the starting point should be five years imprisonment, with the appropriate discount.
The maximum sentence for Antoine’s crime is 10 years imprisonment.
An accused person who pleads guilty can see their sentence reduced by up to one-third.
Richardson invited the court to consider the local case of Jimmy Robertson, who was convicted after a full trial, of buggering a boy.
In that case, the court used a starting point of six years and constructed the sentence based on the aggravating and mitigating factors, the prosecutor argued.
She also invited that court to consider another local case, that of Simeon Francois, who pleaded guilty to buggering a child in 2019 and the court established a starting point of five years.
“The crown wishes to have these cases considered as well to buttress the point that it would not be inappropriate or unreasonable to use a notional starting point of five years, given the guilty plea, albeit it was attempted buggery and thereafter the appropriate discount be given,” Richardson said.
Meanwhile, in mitigation, Connell noted that his client pleaded guilty and has no previous conviction of a similar nature.
He said that Antoine was extremely remorseful for his actions.
The lawyer pointed out that the offence involved a child, adding that this was an aggravating feature, in addition to the significant age difference between the parties.
Connell said there was also abuse.
He said that mitigating of the offence is that there was no injury — physical or mental trauma — to the child.
“I have gone through the transcript and I have not seen any indication of the prisoner at the bar attempting to abuse the child,” the lawyer said.
Connell submitted that there was no aggravating feature of the offender, adding that mitigating was that he had no previous conviction of a similar nature.
The lawyer reasoned that between January 2020, the date of the offence, and July 2023, Antoine was in the society and did not reoffend.
“He is of good character and he assisted the police. His assistance to the authorities is a manifestation of the person he is,” Connell said.
“He told them exactly what happened and a closer look at the transcript would indicate as well that he is an alcoholic. On his own admission, when he consumes this alcohol, he is capable of anything.
“It’s a total paradigm shift in the mind. On this occasion, the child was not harmed,” the lawyer said.
He said that while the prosecution had submitted that there was an element of force, Antoine held on to the child around his stomach and his pants were removed.
“But apart from that, there was no other sexual act and this, I humbly submit, is the significant difference between the factual matrix of the case of buggery and attempted buggery.”
Connell said that in Francis’ case, there was a guilty plea and the court established a starting point of five years.
He said the factual metric is significantly different and Antoine’s offence “somewhat borderline indecent assault, which attracts a lower sentence”.
The defence counsel argued that the starting point should be three years, and asked the court to consider that Antoine saved the court the rigours of a trial.
He said that Francis’ case involved kidnapping a child and there was significant abuse and in Robertson’s case, the child attended the School for Children with Special Needs.
Connell suggested that Antoine’s case “would fall within the ambit of a possible suspended sentence”.
However, Richardson told the court that the Crown had not filed the usual victim impact statement and it should be filed that day.
“The Crown believes this would give the court some insight into the impact that it has had on the victim and family,” she said.
Under to the laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, non-sensual buggery is not classified as rape and consensual anal intercourse is a criminal act.
Whereas consensual buggery attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, rape or attempted rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.