Linton Pompey, a father of 12, will be spending the next 37 years in jail after a jury yesterday found him guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl.
Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, who presided over the trial, imposed the sentence on Pompey, 50, at the High Court.
After about two hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury found Pompey guilty on two counts of rape and one count of sexual activity with a child under 16 years of age.
The verdict on the rape charges was by a majority of 10 to two, while the verdict on the sexual activity charge was unanimous.
Pompey was sentenced to 15 and 17 years imprisonment on the first and second counts of rape, respectively. He was then additionally sentenced to five years on the sexual activity charge. The court directed that the three sentences be served consecutively.
The indictments against the man stated that on January 10, 2012 and between June 1 and June 30, 2013, he engaged in sexual penetration of the girl; and that between May 1 and May 31, 2011, he engaged in sexual activity with the girl by rubbing her breast.
In a plea for mitigation, defence attorney Michael Somersall begged the court to consider that his client had no previous brushes with the law.
He described the man as a regular churchgoer and as a quiet and easy-going person.
He said his client worked as a welder and would often effect repairs at the church he attended.
In response to counsel’s submissions, the judge firmly noted that the sentence must reflect the crimes, which were very serious.
Reprimanding the convict about his actions, Justice Barlow said society expects elders to respect and protect children and never to disrespect them in the manner he had done to the virtual complainant.
She firmly scolded him for the position of trust that he breached when he violated the young girl.
Addressing counsel’s submission that his client was a regular churchgoer, Justice Barlow encouraged the convict to see his time behind bars as an opportunity to connect with and draw closer to God. “You should use this as a time of reflection,” the judge told Pompey, who wore a sombre look on his face.
The man’s relatives were quietly moved to tears when the sentence was handed down.
However, they did not restrain themselves any further after exiting the courtroom and their deafening screams and loud tramping drew the attention of many curious onlookers and the vigilance of the police.
The trial was held in-camera.
The state’s case was presented by Prosecutor Narissa Leander.