Court of Appeal judges have upheld a 20-and-a-half-year prison sentence for a man convicted of rape and aggravated burglary.
Okeno Nicholas Solomon, 27, appeared before the Court of Appeal Monday seeking leave to appeal the length of his sentence.
In January 2018, Solomon entered guilty pleas to charges of rape, aggravated burglary and theft. The charges stem from an incident in October 2017 when Solomon broke into a woman’s George Town home, bound her hands and feet and raped her multiple times. During the attack, the woman received cuts to her hands and legs from a knife, which Solomon used to threaten her into silence.
After raping the woman, Solomon stole her mobile phone, laptop, jewellery and her car, which he used to make his getaway.
During the original sentencing, the court heard that Solomon said he had consumed cocaine that night and had no recollection of the incident. A social inquiry report read out in the court at the time quoted Solomon as saying, “If she says I raped her, then it must be true, because why would she lie about something like that?”
The only thing that connected Solomon to the rape was a used condom containing his DNA. At the time of the incident, Solomon was out on bail for breaking into another woman’s house and groping her on her buttocks while she slept.
For the charge of rape, Solomon was sentenced to 18-and-a-half years, however, that sentence was reduced to 13-and-a-half years for a guilty plea. He was also sentenced to eight years for the aggravated burglary and four years for the theft; all of which were to run concurrently. He was sentenced to seven years for the separate charge of burglary and four years for the indecent assault, both sentences to run concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the 13-and-a-half year sentence, leaving Solomon with a total sentence of 20-and-a-half years behind bars.
Appearing before the Court of Appeal on Monday, John Furniss, representing Solomon, told the justices, “Acting Grand Court Justice Marlene Carter had erred when she passed sentence on Mr. Solomon.”
Furniss argued that the sentence was unduly excessive because Acting Justice Carter included the fact that the offence of rape was committed while the defendant was out on bail for charges of burglary and indecent assault as aggravating circumstances.
“In moving the starting point of the sentence to reflect the aggravating circumstances, Justice Carter added a premium of three years,” said Furniss. “By including the fact that the rape occurred while Solomon was on bail for offences of a similar nature as aggravating circumstances, and then later sentencing Solomon separately for said offences, there was an element of double counting.”
The appeal judges dismissed the application saying, “We agree that the rape fully deserved a sentence of 18 years.”