Law and order and court
Law and order and court

Jeremiah Albert Williams, a 55-year old man from a north-eastern community is now serving a prison term of nearly five years at the Stock Farm State Prison.

Williams received the sentence from trial judge Wynante Adrien-Roberts for an unlawful sexual connection and indecent assault on a minor girl at the Roseau High Court on Friday, May 7, 2021.

A jury of eight women and one man found Williams guilty on both charges after a trial that ended on Monday, March 22, 2021.

Williams's trial was prosecuted by State Attorney Daina Matthew and began on Wednesday, March 10 in the absence of the public. Counsel Dawn Yearwood-Stewart conducted the defence for the accused man.

Counsel for both sides made submissions before the Judge on Tuesday, May 4, three days before the sentence was handed down.

Justice Adrien-Roberts noted that the maximum sentence for each offence was 14 and 10 years each. At the time of the offences during the night of Thursday, October 19, 2017, the accused was 52 years old and the virtual complainant was eight years five months old, and the niece of her violator. The prisoner is the brother of the girl's father.

The child lived in one community with her father before moving to the place of the incident to live with an aunt to attend school. She had to share the same bed with her uncle and aunt. In the early morning hours, the child was awakened when she felt someone touching her private parts.

In her submissions, State Attorney Matthew talked about the psychological and emotional effect while the judge in her judgement agreed with the harm caused to the child and her being scared of history repeating itself. She could not trust anyone ever again.

Justice Adrien-Roberts pointed out that the starting point of a sentence for such offences was two-thirds or 65% of the maximum sentence which worked out to nine years four months and six years eight months respectively. The judge noted the seriousness of the offences caused in the presence of another person and her uncle's breach of trust.

Justice Adrien Wynante started with the notional sentence of nine and six years each. She went on to look at the aggravating and mitigating factors of the case as well as the mitigating and aggravating factors of the offender. The social inquiry report indicated that before this lapse the prisoner had been of good character, quiet, had no previous convictions and was not known to be in illegal activities. For these, she reduced the sentence by two years after initially adding three months on each count for the seriousness of the offences.

Justice Adrien-Roberts chose to have the sentences run concurrently instead of consecutively and was of the view that a custodial sentence was applicable in that case. Her sentence was five years in prison minus 67 days for time spent on remand.

The sentence of the court was four years nine months three weeks in prison.