A man who forced his 8-year-old daughter to watch pornography while he indecently assaulted her faces the possibility of having his jail sentence increased.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed this week that it will appeal the six-month prison sentence given to the 44-year-old, who admitted to a string of sexual offences against his daughter.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced recently by Cayman Islands Chief Magistrate Nova Hall. The sentence sparked public outrage. An online petition calling for a review gathered more than 400 signatures within a few days.
Cheryll Richards, director of public prosecutions, said, “An internal review of the matter has already been undertaken and a decision made that the matter is to be the subject of an appeal.”
She did not comment on whether the public response had influenced the decision.
The original court hearing heard how the man had made his victim watch pornography, including a sex-tape of himself and his girlfriend, before indecently assaulting her.
Passing sentence, the magistrate said the victim had suffered emotional and psychological problems as a result of the abuse and will require long-term counseling.
The defendant, a Grand Cayman resident, admitted two counts of indecent assault, one of common assault, one of insulting the modesty of a woman and two counts of making obscene publications.
Magistrate Hall sentenced him to nine months in prison for the “most serious” of the indecent assaults. She gave separate custodial sentences for two of the other offences, but ordered they run concurrently, meaning he will serve no additional jail time.
She also suspended three months of the sentence for two years, meaning he will serve six months behind bars in total. If he commits another offence within two years, he will be liable to serve the remaining three months of his sentence. Ms Hall said she had taken into consideration the fact that the man had entered a guilty plea, had apparently been abused himself as a teenager and was undergoing psychotherapy and taking medication to “address his situation”.
Sandra Catron, a community activist who has campaigned for tougher sentences and public exposure of sex offenders through a national register, said many in the community felt the sentence was far too lenient.
She set up the petition to call for an appeal of sentence and for the Legislative Assembly to insist on minimum sentences being imposed in such cases.
She said, “The petition was started because yet again as an activist on this issue I am outraged at the low sentences that these child molesters continue to receive from the judiciary. It appears to me that their judges are more sympathetic to the plight of the offender that that of the victim. Many people in this community are disappointed in the judiciary and that’s why I started this petition.”