Rape convicts freed on appeal

Nearly a year after they were convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl at Middle Road and were slapped with ten years imprisonment each, Rocky Gravesande and Sherlock Peters were freed by the Court of Appeal.

Justices of Appeal Claudette Singh, Ian Chang and Nandram Kissoon upheld submissions by the duo’s legal team yesterday. The grounds of appeal, which ranged from inaccurate directions by the trial judge to the testimonies of the defence witnesses being devalued, were advanced by attorneys-at-law, Hukumchand; Sonia Parag; Kamini Parag and Robin Hunte.

The legal team mainly argued that the trial failed to address various issues as it relates to the case presented by the defence. Gravesande and Peters were charged for the April 22, 2003 rape of the teenager at Middle Road, La Penitence shortly after the incident allegedly happened.

In December 2006, the two were found guilty of the charge by a mixed jury following their High Court trial that same month before Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards. They were later sentenced to ten years imprisonment each.

During the High Court trial the teenager said the men took turns having sex with her although she repeatedly begged them to leave her alone. Her mother also testified that when she saw her daughter at the Ruimveldt Police Station later that day she had scratches to her neck, breast and hand and she was crying out in pain.

Peters admitted having sex with the girl on the night of the incident but said it was consensual. According to him, he and the girl had a relationship.

Attorney-at-law Mortimer Codette had represented the men during the trial and state counsel, Nadeen Singh appeared for the prosecution.

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