A man charged with indecent assault, gained the sympathy of the court this morning when he declared that the virtual complainant had lied about her age and he did not do anything that she did not want.
The man, an Antiguan residing in Dominica, appeared at the High Court of Justice this morning where he was given a light sentence of six months imprisonment.
According to the facts of the case, as presented by the state’s lawyer, on April 26, 2008 the 15-year-old girl was fetching water when she met the defendant.
She was carrying three bottles of water on her way home, when the accused offered his help. The young lady declined, but when he offered a second time she allowed him to help her to carry the bottles to her home.
At the time, the virtual complainant’s mother was at church and she was home alone. While at the house the virtual complainant began searching for boxes, according to what she told the accused. Consequently, he offered to help her in her search. During that time, the man had followed the virtual complainant to a bedroom. There, he asked her for a hug, and when she agreed he did not want to let go.
“He held her tightly and wouldn’t let go,” the lawyer stated. The virtual complainant pushed the man away. However, he pushed her onto the bed and removed her short pants and panties. According to the facts of the case, the accused inserted his penis into the girl’s vagina for a time and ejaculated into his hands.
“He wiped with a piece of napkin that was in a bowl in the bedroom and threw a $20.00 on her,” the state’s attorney said.
When Judge Cottle asked the accused what he had to say for himself he responded, “I never said it didn’t happen. They said we wrestled, it didn’t happen so … she asked me to give her money and I did,” he explained.
The accused had previously pleaded guilty to the charge.
“Mr [name provided] you have a young daughter?” Judge Cottle inquired. The court learnt that the accused man has two girls aged three and eight-years-old.
However, the accused maintained he was not aware that the virtual complainant was underage until a police officer assigned to the case informed him.
“She was lying to me about her age. She told me she was 16 then 17 … I found out she was lying,” he claimed.
While Judge Cottle admitted to believing the accused, he said he was obligated to sentence him because of his guilty plea. “The law of this land says if you have relationships with persons under 16 you have committed an offense … I’ll tell you why I believe you when you say the virtual complainant lied about her age. I notice from the medical report there was also no issue of forced [entry] … I also see that she didn’t refuse your advances, in fact she might have encouraged them,” Justice Cottle added.
He warned him to avoid very young females as seductive as they may be.
“Despite all that … you as the adult have to avoid these children … she may have misled you … she seemed to have encouraged your intentions but I still have to protect these children, even from themselves,” the judge stated.