Saturday 21 September, 2019

NO WAY! Court dismisses appeal against 25-year sentence for rape

A man who pleaded guilty to raping a one-legged woman over several days in 2003, has failed in his attempts to have his sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment overturned by the Court of Appeal.

In a judgment handed down last month, the court ruled that the sentence of the convict, Charlie Junior, who pleaded guilty to rape on March 4, 2016, was not excessive.

The allegations were that on July 31, 2003, Junior forcibly abducted the physically-impaired complainant, who had a foot missing. He bluntly told her that he was now her man, and she would have to stay with him.

He took her to a hut, where he kept her for several days, during which time he repeated had sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

Sometime after, he took her back to her house.

The woman then made a report to the police, and a warrant was issued for Junior’s arrest.

The Appeal Court noted that the warrant was not executed until February of 2006, when Junior was arrested and charged.

In the written judgment, prepared by Appeal Court Judge, Justice Patrick Brooks, he said no explanation was given for the long delay in apprehending Junior, or for the delay in him pleading guilty.

However, according to Justice Brooks, “an antecedent report, which was produced as a precursor to (his) sentencing (for the 2003 rape case), showed that Mr Junior had 10 previous convictions recorded against his name. Two of those were for abduction, two for rape, one for indecent assault, and one for manslaughter. The indecent assault conviction was in 1975. The abduction and rape convictions were all on the same date in 2007. The manslaughter conviction was in 2013.”

Junior was, at the time of sentencing in the present case, serving sentences in respect of the abduction, rape and manslaughter convictions.

Justice Brooks said that on March 17, 2016, the judge sentenced Junior to 25 years’ imprisonment, and ordered it to be reduced by one year.

“The reduction was in recognition, said the learned sentencing judge, of some of the time that Mr Junior had served in custody prior to his conviction in relation to the offence,” Justice Brooks wrote.

However, he added that, “The learned sentencing judge refused to give credit to Mr Junior for the entire time that he was in custody. She based her refusal on the fact that, for the period in excess of that year, Mr Junior was serving sentences for other offences.”

The sentencing judge is recorded in a transcript of the 2016 sentencing as saying: “So, what I am saying… the Court takes into consideration time served in custody for the offence. It’s only one year you are telling me that he would have served in prison for this offence, one year prior to being sentenced. So (the) maximum I would have (to) take into consideration is just one year. I couldn’t take into consideration the prison years, because those prison years were as a consequence of (other) convictions.”

But Junior’s attorney later filed an appeal, claiming that he should have been given credit for the entire 10 years that he was in custody prior to being sentenced.

However, the Court of Appeal agreed with the sentencing judge, and ruled that Junior was not entitled to be credited for the period he spent in custody, because he was serving other sentences before he pleaded guilty to the rape charge.

The court disclosed that if Junior had pleaded guilty to the rape charge at an earlier stage, his sentence would have been shorter.

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