Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year
Judge Errol Thomas, left, and law officials at the opening of the New Law Year

High Court Judge Errol Thomas sentenced a 40-year old man of a western community to four years and seven months in prison for indecent assault, on Friday March 13, 2015.

The man, represented by Lawyer Geoffrey Letang pleaded guilty to exposing himself before a girl aged nine years nine months on Friday June 14, 2013, when he arrived for his trial at the Roseau High Court on Thursday February 19, 2015.

Judge Thomas set sentencing for Friday March 13 while the court awaited a social inquiry report from the Welfare Division.

State Attorney Sherma Dalrymple, on behalf of the DPP's Office, outlined the evidence in the case by saying that on that day in June 2013 about 3:00pm the prisoner, a neighbour, asked the girl for ice. She went to her grandmother, got the ice and brought it for the prisoner. He was in his kitchen and asked the girl to bring the ice. He pulled in the kitchen and showed, pulled down his pants and showed the girl his private parts. She ran from the man's house.

The girl told her mother, the matter was reported to the police and the charge of indecent assault was subsequently laid against the man.

Lawyer for the accused, Geoffrey Letang, in mitigation, told the court that his client had recognised the seriousness of his offence and not wasted the court's time by pleading guilty at the first opportunity. He was the last of 10 children of his mother and caretaker of sibling who was physically challenged and was the one taking care of her. He had expressed remorse and felt shame for his action, and had cooperated with the police.

The lawyer agreed with the social welfare report that the man had breached the trust of the family. He was, however, a well behaved man in the community, and the act was unfortunate and shameful. He was also a hard working and quiet man.

Letang asked for some leniency, for the court to temper mercy with justice and to not impose a custodial sentence.

Justice Thomas in turn stated that the man didn't want ice. It was a trick. The maximum sentence for the offence was 10 years in prison. His desire for ice was a ploy, a trick. And see where it had brought him.

Judge Thomas reiterated that sexual offences here was a growing problem against children – boys and girls even from as young as four years.

"Dominica can't want this, people getting away at the court (and there are others soon to be sentence). The sentence of the court is four years seven months with time off for remand. The guilty plea must be made at the first opportunity, and that is at the arraignment. Take note: at first opportunity and that is at the arraignment."