A man in his mid-30s has been sentenced to three years imprisonment after being found guilty of indecently assaulting a girl in her early teens to whom he is related.
The trial was closed to the public and to the press.
At the sentence hearing, Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn asked Justice Lennox Campbell to permit a report of the matter. She said it would help make the public aware that offences of this type are serious and are being prosecuted.
Justice Campbell said he would allow reporting, with the prohibition that the parties be not identified.
From the comments of Mrs. Gunn and Defence Attorney John Furniss, it became apparent that the assault was oral sex.
The man called the girl into a room and told her to take down her clothes. After performing the act, he told her not to leave the room; he was going to get a condom. She put on her clothes and left. He did not stop her.
Mr. Furniss said this was an important factor for the court to consider. The man had not used force or threats of any kind, he had not exposed himself to the girl and she had not been injured.
He agreed that indecent assault on a young teenager by an adult is serious and should attract immediate imprisonment. He suggested that, since it was a single incident, the appropriate sentence could be 18 months.
Mrs. Gunn said the relationship between the man and the girl meant that he was in a position of trust. This was an aggravating feature.
She handed up a victim impact statement, but did not read it aloud. Mr. Furniss referred to a portion in which the girl said she was not afraid of the man.
When passing sentence, however, Justice Campbell pointed to another portion in which she said she was now uncomfortable in the presence of older men. ‘That follows directly as a consequence of what you did to her,’ he told the defendant. ‘She has been affected by your behaviour.’
He said the facts of the case were quite alarming. The defendant was the adult in charge and the girl had been left with him.
There was evidence that the man was in the habit of having women coming to the home. Before the assault on the girl, there was an incident in which he required her to watch while he had sex with an adult female.
The judge said subjecting the child to this viewing showed a total lack of anything called morality. Instead, the picture was one of debauchery and hedonism since the man was not short of sexual partners, but the girl was in his power so he used her.
He noted that the maximum sentence had been increased in 2005 from seven years to 10 years. He wondered what was in the minds of the legislators. In sentencing guidelines from 2002, the courts had regarded sexual offences as all too prevalent. After that, sex offence sentences were increased.
The judge took into account the fact that the man had no previous convictions for any kind of indecency offences. However, as Mr. Furniss agreed, he did have convictions for other types of offences and therefore could not get any discount as a man of good character.
At the trial, Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees conducted the case for the prosecution.