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High Court Building and Judge Stephenson
High Court Building and Judge Stephenson

Trial judge Justice Birnie Stephenson sentenced a male paedophile of a north eastern community to five years in prison when he showed up for his sentence on a guilty verdict of indecent assault at the Roseau High Court on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

The man, unrepresented by counsel, was tried behind closed doors before a jury of eight women and one man on Wednesday, October 8. The jury, at the end of the one- day trial, found him guilty of indecently assaulting a young girl, aged 11 years six months, on July 22, 2012.

The judge ordered a pre-sentence report which included the Welfare Division interviewing people of the community as well as the virtual complainant and the prisoner.

In reviewing the case Judge Stephenson noted that the girl had gone to the river to swim with her family. The girl and her brother went in the water to swim. The convicted man who was at the river asked the girl if she could swim. Seeming keen to assist her he touched her breast and vagina. The girl told her parents. The matter was reported to the police, which resulted in the man's arrest, and his subsequent conviction.

A not very happy judge added that this was not the first such offence by the man. He had been incarcerated before for more than one such offence. The Probation Officer in her report found that the offender had a passion for young girls and was still attracted to children, the behaviour of a paedophile and a given fixation on young females.

Justice Stephenson went on to look at the aggravating and mitigating factors. He had shown no remorse and continued to claim his innocence. The girl for her part was traumatised and faced possible lifelong effects… He had taken the joy of going to the river for a swim from her, and that the man had ruined the victim of that experience before her brother.

Conversely, the only mitigating factor was that he had committed no violence on the virtual complainant, so that the aggravating factors far outweighed the mitigating factors.

The judge described the perpetrator as a recidivist. Previous sentences for similar offences had not discouraged him. He had failed to learn his lesson. The lesson had not been sent home to him. The offence carried a maximum 10 years in prison with the bench mark sentence for such offences being four years.

Justice Stephenson continued: I am duty bound to protect the society from you. Sexual crimes in young people in Dominica are on the rise. The time has come for the court to send a stern warning that this crime will not be tolerated. You are hereby sentenced to five years in prison to commence from the day of his remand


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