Dominica’s resident High Court Judge, Justice Colin Williams has imposed a term of imprisonment of 18 years against a former fire officer, George Andre Jr., who was convicted of Buggery of a minor boy. Andre Jr. was indicted on three counts of Buggery and one count of Unlawful Sexual Connection (USC) which occurred between September 30, 2020, and January 1, 2021.
The now-convicted man pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and as a result, the matter went to trial on October 30, 2023, with a nine-member, consisting of eight women and one man, jury empanelled to try the case. During the one-week trial, the State called several witnesses including the victim to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
At the conclusion of the trial on November 6, 2023, after deliberating for one hour and 30 minutes, the jury returned with a guilty verdict on the charges. Following Andre’s conviction, the Court immediately passed sentence. Pursuant to legislative provisions, the convicted man was liable to a minimum custodial sentence of 16 years, eight months, and a maximum of 25 years.
In crafting his sentence, Justice Williams embarked on a computation exercise applying the procedures proposed in the sentencing guidelines for sexual offences issued in November 2021 and guided by the well-established sentencing principles, these being retribution, deterrence, prevention, and rehabilitation.
He carefully considered the specific circumstances of the case before him, weighing each of these principles and their relevance to the defendant and the victim.
The idea that the punishment should be proportionate to the harm caused and the culpability of the offender, played a central role in shaping the sentence.
Justice Williams sought to ensure that the punishment matched the severity of the sexual offense committed, and these principles within the sentencing guidelines, while taking into account the unique features of the case.
The ultimate sentence imposed by the Court against Andre Jr. was a term of imprisonment of 18 years.