Man imprisoned 10 years for raping tourist

Lincoln Joseph Silburn, age 53, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on Wednesday after a Grand Court jury found him guilty last month of rape.

The victim was a tourist who was visiting in May 2013 along with her son and a friend. She gave her evidence via video link.

Justice Michael Mettyear summarized events that led to the charge before passing sentence. He said the woman saw Silburn fishing off Seven Mile Beach and spoke to him about fishing. The conversation lasted only a few minutes.

The next day, which was her last day of vacation, Silburn saw her on the beach and attached himself to her, at first trying to sell her a necklace and later sharing her food and drink.

It was suggested during his trial that Silburn had in some way spiked or drugged the drink that the woman was consuming from a cannister. However there was no witness to his doing so and no forensic evidence to establish that had happened.

Crown counsel Candia James had accepted that, for the purposes of sentencing, this aspect of the case had not been established to the requisite standard. In any event, the judge concluded that he could not be sure whether the drink was tampered with. If he had been sure, that would have been a major aggravating factor in the case, he said.

Continuing the narrative, he said that the woman, for some reason or another, became somewhat incapacitated and Silburn had unprotected sex with her to which she did not consent.

When she flew home the following day she reported what had happened to a member of the cabin staff and US authorities became involved.

The judge said Silburn lied to police when he was interviewed about the matter “and, as the jury found, you lied to the court in your evidence.” The defendant had claimed that the act was consensual.

The tariff in Cayman for rape, as announced in 2002, is 10 to 12 years. Justice Mettyear noted that at the time it was announced, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said that rape had become alarmingly prevalent. The tariff is the sentence to be applied in a typical case: mitigating factors will reduce it and aggravating factors will increase it.

Justice Mettyear indicated that defense attorney Crister Brady had done his best to persuade the court there were no aggravating features. “Your counsel has done his best to put before me what could be said in your favor,” he told Silburn.

Mr. Brady had pointed out that, although his client had previous convictions, there were none involving violence or any sexual offenses. Further, Silburn had not been convicted of anything since 2001.

The judge said that, following the Court of Appeal, he could scarcely justify a sentence outside the 10-12 year range, but Mr. Brady had persuaded him that he was able to select the very bottom of that range.

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