A young child has been left to rue the loss of her innocence after suffering repeated acts of incest at the hands of her stepfather.
The High Court handed down a 21-year sentence for a man — whose name was withheld by the court because of his close relationship with the victim — after he was convicted in November, 2022 of three counts of incest and one count of indecent assault.
Curious! No rape charges
It remains unclear why the stepfather was not charged with rape, since, as Justice Thomas Astaphan pointed out in his ruling, each of the heinous acts committed on the child, constitutes the criminal offence of rape which is punishable by a maximum term of life in prison.
Furthermore, the child’s stepfather was also not charged with the lesser offence of statutory rape which is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 14 years.
However, each of the acts of incest that the stepfather was charged with is punishable by a maximum term of 10 years in prison.
Clear and present danger
The first offence of indecent assault happened when the child was eight years old and she reportedly wrote in a letter she later described as a joke, that her mother’s then-boyfriend touched her derriere (buttocks).
The other acts of incest were reportedly committed once the man had become the victim’s stepfather and while she was between the ages of nine and 12.
“[Defendant] robbed me of my childhood and has taken away my sanity and my dignity. My mom married this man and brought him to live in our home and I never expected him to do this malicious act to me. He is a demon and a heartless individual who has no regard for young girls,” the child said in a victim impact statement to the court.
The stepfather reportedly committed the acts of incest while the mother was away from the home, and on one occasion, when the mother’s friend came to stay overnight during a weekend.
In his judgment, Justice Astaphan concluded that the offender was a clear and present danger to society since, among other things, he blamed the victim and her mother for the acts he committed and declined to take any responsibility for his actions.
According to court records, on each occasion the child was raped, she was scared to tell her mother – that is, until September 2021 when she told her brother who lives overseas, on a FaceTime call, and he told their mother.
Upon being confronted by the child’s mother in the presence of the child, the stepfather reportedly clasped his hands, got on his knees and began to beg the victim saying that “this is jail wuk”.
During the confrontation, he admitted to touching the child and reportedly said: “but [I] don’t know what came over [me].”
After he was convicted, the stepfather was sentenced to three consecutive terms of seven years in prison on the charges of incest. He was handed a concurrent term (to be served simultaneously with the other sentence) of two years and three months in prison for the single count of indecent assault.
Justice Astaphan ruled that, given the egregious nature of his offences, the stepfather was not eligible for parole until after having served 13 years and four months of his sentence. He is also expected to complete an approved counselling or rehabilitation programme during his time in prison.
The prosecution was represented in the trial by Senior Crown Counsel Patrice Hickson, while attorney Michael Maduro represented the defendant.