A Vincentian man living Tortola was sentenced to more than 27 years after pleading guilty before the High Court to committing three separate counts of incest on his own biological daughter.
The man, who was said to be 37 years old at the time of the incident, was sentenced to three consecutive terms of 111 months in prison on three counts of incest. The maximum sentence for incest was 10 years imprisonment on each count.
He is therefore required to serve a total of 333 months, less the time spent on remand, for committing the acts on the helpless 15-year-old victim in March and April of 2021. The defendant is eligible for parole after serving 240 months in prison.
The names of both the teenage victim, as well as the convicted man, were withheld by the Court because of the close relationship they share.
Defendant not charged with rape
Astonishingly, the Court highlighted in its judgement on March 21 this year that the defendant was not charged with rape, despite an allowance for such a charge to be included, along with charges of incest.
Justice Thomas Astaphan pointed out in his ruling that it would be remiss if the Court were not to ask the question ‘why wasn’t the prisoner charged with Rape, contrary to section 117(1) of the Criminal Code?’.
The Court’s ruling noted that Section 117 clearly provides that a jury may return a guilty verdict on the lesser included offences — such as sexual intercourse with a girl under 16 years old — as set out in other sections.
The judge further pointed out that there is only a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the section under which the defendant was charged.
According to Justice Astaphan: “There can be no more heinous, evil and destructive act that a man can commit than that of having sexual intercourse with his own child. There is, and can never be any legitimate mitigating factor for such an offence. There is no worse betrayal of a child by her father than this.”
According to the Court documents, the father would sometimes make the child consume alcoholic beverages before he subjected her to his sexual assaults. When she resisted drinking the substances, he would force her to do so.
In return for granting permission for the victim to go out, he would demand to have sex with the child. He also physically assaulted her to do so, especially when she attempted to resist and would slap and hit her in the mouth.
The Court was told that he would sometimes give her a “small pink pill to swallow” after he had completed his sexual assault upon the child. It is was also reported that he would give her a warm Guinness to drink. This ‘pink pill’ is described by the victim as “the morning pill”. The father had sexual intercourse with his child without using a condom.
“The man I knew as my father violated me, by sexually abusing me,” the victim said in a statement to the Court. She acknowledged skipping meals and feeling dirty, and becoming restless as a result.
The child also told the court that she blamed herself and felt it was her fault for not speaking up the first time. “I felt like I didn’t have a choice because he was the only person who I had to take care of me. I had nightmares about it sometimes. I can’t even think about it for too long without crying,” the child said.
The Crown was represented by Patrice Hickson in the matter, while Israel Bruce represented the defendant.
Source BVI NEWS