A man was sentenced last week to five years and four months imprisonment after pleading guilty to a charge of defilement of a girl under the age of 16.
It was 31-year-old Randy Michael McLean’s second such conviction, but his first prison sentence for the offense.
Justice Alexander Henderson disagreed with defense attorney John Furniss, who asked for a term of probation on the basis that the girl, 15, was a willing participant and McLean now realized the seriousness of what he had done.
“It’s entirely unrealistic to talk about probation,” the judge replied. “It is not consistent with my obligation to the public,” he added later.
Crown counsel Neil Kumar set out the background to the charge as well as McLean’s record of convictions.
He said McLean was sentenced in 2008 for the offense of defilement that he had committed two years earlier. He was 23 at the time; the girl was 13 and considered him to be her boyfriend.
Defilement is carnal knowledge of a girl younger than 16. It is no defense to show that the girl consented. The maximum sentence at the time was seven years, but it has since been raised to 12 years.
Justice Karl Harrison sentenced McLean to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service. Mr. Furniss pointed out that McLean did not re-offend during that period of suspension.
The second offense was uncovered after another teenage girl’s family members expressed their concerns to police. Officers went to McLean’s home and found the girl in his bedroom. She was taken to hospital for examination and McLean’s DNA was identified. In preparing a victim impact statement, a probation officer asked the girl if she believed he should be penalized for what had happened. The girl said no.
On hearing this, Justice Henderson pointed out that the whole underpinning of the statutory provision was to the effect that the girl’s views did not matter very much because she was not of the age of consent. It did not matter what she thought about him being punished or not because the law protects her absolutely.
He said McLean’s previous sentence could only be described as lenient.
In this second offense, there was no mitigating factor such as closeness in age or a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. “It is an adult man preying on a young girl,” he said. The courts regard defilement as a serious offense that is all too prevalent, the judge indicated.
He agreed that McLean was entitled to a discount for his guilty plea, but given the DNA evidence the case could not have been defended, he pointed out.
The judge said the tariff sentence is five years for a first offense. Because this was a second offense, he started at eight years. Deducting one-third, he arrived at a sentence of five years, four months.