Kirkland Henry gets 20 years for rape

Guilty plea, assistance warrant discount

Kirkland Henry, 27, was sentenced
on Monday to 20 years imprisonment for the rape of Estella Scott-Roberts on the
night of 10 October 2008.

He also received 15 years for abduction and 13 years for robbery in connection with the same series of incidents, but the terms
are concurrent.

In handing down the sentences,
Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said he was required by law to separate these
offences from the killing of Mrs. .Scott-Roberts, which followed in the
sequence of events.

Henry pleaded guilty to the abduction, rape and robbery charges. He pleaded not
guilty to murder as did co-accused Larry Prinston Ricketts, but both were found
guilty after trial by judge alone. The mandatory sentence was imprisonment for
life (Caymanian Compass, 24 February).

 Last Friday, Defence Attorney Ben Tonner confirmed
that he had filed an appeal against Henry’s conviction
for murder. Also on Friday, a two-week trial was set for Ricketts on the abduction, rape and robbery charges to which he pleaded
not guilty. That trial is set to start on 25 October.

The Chief Justice noted that the
maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. He said the Court of Appeal had
recently provided comprehensive guidance on sentencing for this crime (Compass,
30 December 2009).

The higher court had upheld
sentences of 12 and 15 years, he pointed out, but neither of those offences was
as far to the extreme end of seriousness as the offence against Mrs.
Scott-Roberts.

Aggravating features included the
fact that she was physically overpowered while preparing to leave a parking lot
off West Bay Road.
She was slashed on her hand with a knife and taken in her own car to an
isolated area in the dead of night. She was bound, gagged and raped before
being taken to another location where she was assaulted and robbed.

Possession of duct tape to gag
their victim indicated advanced
planning, the Chief Justice pointed out. He said the attack must have been
carefully planned and premeditated.

He found that Henry had acted from
the very beginning in concert with his accomplice and that he had been aware of
the presence of a knife and the inflicting
of injury.

In his view, given all the
circumstances of the case, the starting point for sentencing was 25 years. However,
he took into account the mitigating factors Mr. Tonner had urged when the
matter came to court last Friday.

They included Henry’s guilty plea, his
previous good character and his assistance to police that led to Ricketts’
arrest and conviction.

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Kirkland Henry
Photo: File
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