“Hands off our young ladies, find young ladies your own age!” is what Justice Birnie Stephenson-Brooks told a convicted sex offender after he pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of a 15 year old girl.
“Teenage girls are trouble. Where I come from they call them jail bait. Stay away from them… You have to see the young ladies and leave them alone. Find one your age. Leave the girls under 18 alone” she added.
Geshard Lestrade, 23, was sentenced to four years imprisonment after pleading guilty to the indecent assault of the teen, an incident which occurred on August 21, 2006.
Last week, Lestrade’s lawyer told the court that his client had no related offenses and did not know “what had gotten into” his client at the time of the incident.
According to the facts of the case, presented by Director of Public Prosecutions Gene Pestaina, the complainant was Lestrade’s neighbour had came to his home to bring a roast breadfruit to his home upon her mother’s request when the incident occurred.
According to the prosecutor, the convicted man invited the complainant to his room and where showed her his passport and told her that he was travelling soon and asked the complainant to have sex with him. She declined and replied that she was a school child. Lestrade in response said, “Even if you are a school child.”
“He then proceeded to pull down his pants and he removed a condom from his pocket, placed it on his penis…” the prosecutor said
According to Pestaina, the Letsrade then began to kiss and touch the complainant on her breast. He also rubbed his penis against her vagina.
He continued, “Whilst doing so the smaller sister of the complainant walked into the room. The complainant’s sister reported the matter to her mother.”
The matter was also reported to the police on the same day.
According to the prosecutor, between August 21 and May 5, 2007 several attempts were made to find the accused man but were futile.
He was eventually arrested in a nearby community on May 5 2007. When questioned on the matter, Lestrade told police, “I did not bring her to the room. It is she that come in my room. I did not ask her to come. When she come into my room I was on my bed resting…We start talking and I tell her I have to go she say she want to spend some time with me …We start kissing…”
“She said I strip her off but is she that strip off herself…Then her mother come and give me a couple slaps…I never enter her, I don’t know if she is a virgin…” Lestrate told police.
According to the court, Lestrade was 19 at the time of the incident.
During mitigation, Lestrade’s lawyer David Bruney asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence on his client.
“I would want to believe that he could be given an opportunity that doesn’t include a custodial sentence,” he said.
According to information disclosed in the court, Lestrade is already serving a four year sentence for a robbery conviction in Marigot. This sentence will be completed in 2010.
His current sentence will run concurrent with the present sentence. Two-and-a-half years of this present sentence was suspended by Justice Birnie Stephenson-Brooks.
Initially, Lestrade faced a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with the underage girl but this was subsequently dropped.
Before passing sentence Justice Stephenson-Brooks spoke against an increase in sexual crimes against children and young ladies. She insisted that the court must do what it takes to deter these offenses.
“Even if the young lady did come to your room and sit on your bed and say to take her… a child of fifteen doesn’t even have a right to see your private part…We as adults and the court, we have to protect our young ladies,” she said.
“Had it not been for the sister coming into the room this could have happened… I have to send a message to the young men out there that it is not appropriate….,” she added.
She advised the convicted man to “straighten up” his act.