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

A young from Roseau is now serving a prison term of six years for buggery. Trial judge Justice Errol Thomas imposed that sentence on the man who is now 18 years when he arrived at the Roseau high Court on Friday February 27, 2015 to hear his fate.

A jury of seven women and two men heard evidence between Thursday January 9 and February 4, 2015 on which latter date the jury returned guilty verdicts of buggery and indecent assault on a boy who was eight years and eight months old at the time of the assault on January 1, 2013.

Counsel David Bruney mitigated on behalf of the prisoner.

Before imposing his sentence, Justice Thomas reminded the court that the boy was on his way home that January of 2013 when a man took him by the hand before he got home, took him to a house close to the road and molested him.

Afterwards, the young man told the boy to tell no one what had happened and he would give him a ball. The child replied that he had a ball already. On reaching his home, the boy looked depressed. He told his mother what had happened which set in motion a train of events starting with the police, which led to the arrest, charge and subsequent trial.

The boy spent five days as a patient at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Director of Public Prosecutions Evelina Baptiste prosecuted the case for the State.

Judge Thomas noted that being sexually assaulted is a painful experience for the victim. He added: this comes along with a sense of shame; it is a traumatic experience which can have a lasting effect on the life of the person.

The incident took place in close proximity to the victim's home, and the convicted man lives close to the victim.

Justice Thomas commended the Welfare Officer, Delia Giddings-Stedman and her office, for the "excellent work" that they do in providing these probationary research which assist the court in its sentencing.

Referring to the Welfare officer's report, the judge observed the reference to violence of the prisoner and a description of himself in one word, "violent". He expressed no remorse.

In looking at the mitigating and aggravating factors, Justice Thomas noted only one mitigating factor, and that is the age of the prisoner at the time of his crime.

He was 16 years old then. On the other hand the victim was a minor. The maximum sentences were five years for buggery and 10 years for indecent assault, the judge said.

There was a prevalence of such offences against children in Dominica, continued the judge. He noted to the prisoner that he was still saying he was innocent; and there were others saying the same thing. He had shown no remorse or given any apology and continued to stand by violence.

For buggery the prisoner would serve three years and for indecent assault six years with the sentences to run concurrently with time served going towards the sentence, the judge ordered.