Rape convict gets one-year reduction of 25-year sentence

Tyrone Mortley, who in 2011 was sentenced to 25 years in prison for raping a girl under the age of 15, had his sentence reduced by one year last Friday, after his appeal hearing came to an end.

On September 21, 2011; Mortley was convicted by a jury, on two counts of carnally knowing the young girl.

He was thereafter sentenced to 25 years on each charge, by trial judge, Winston Patterson, who ordered that the sentences were to run concurrently.

At the conclusion of the appeal hearing before acting Chancellor Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory, the court reduced one of the sentences to 24 years.

The other, they reduced to four years.

The judges said that the new sentences are to be served concurrently, commencing from the date of Mortley’s conviction; for which as a result, he would have already served the lesser of the two amounts.

Meanwhile, time so far spent behind bars, was deducted from the 24-year sentence; leaving a remainder of some 18 years.

On the charge for which the deduction to four years was granted, the prosecution conceded that the 25-year sentence imposed therefor, contravened specific provisions relating to sections 69 (1) of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:01, and was therefore unlawful.

Resultantly, it was set aside by the Court of Appeal and substituted with the four years, which the convict has already served.

Mortley had carnal knowledge of the girl, between April 1 and 30, 2006; and then again on October 28, of the said year.

In December of that year, the girl was discovered to be nine weeks pregnant and this led to Mortley’s arrest.

It was noted that Mortley admitted his crime to the members of the jury in two statements, oral and written, during the trial.

He had appealed his conviction and sentence, arguing among other things, that the sentence was “unduly severe.”

He contended that his defence was not “adequately and fairly” put to the jury.

According to the convict, Justice Patterson’s summing-up as a whole, was unbalanced, in that it was heavily weighted in favour of the prosecution, while giving little consideration, if any, to those aspects of the evidence favourable to him.

The judge, he further argued, failed to adequately direct the jury, or at all, as to how to approach discrepancies arising from three oral statements he was alleged to have made, during a confrontation with the complainant.

It was Mortley’s contention also, that Justice Patterson erred in law, in holding that the written confession was voluntarily given and therefore admissible.

Alternatively, the appellant said the judge failed to adequately direct the jury, or at all, as to how it needed to approach the issue of what weight was to be attributed to that confession.

Mortley was unrepresented during his appeal.

The state, meanwhile, was represented by Prose-cutor Diana Kaulesar-O’Brien.

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