Two men, including a pastor, were yesterday each found guilty of separate charges of sexually assaulting a young girl.
Alvin Rudder was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted on one of two counts of engaging in sexual activity with an eight-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, Pastor Josiah Baptiste was found guilty of raping a six-year-old girl. His sentencing has been deferred to April 24, pending the presentation of a probation report, which was requested by his attorney, Folio Richards.
Both trials were conducted in-camera at the High Court in Georgetown.
Rudder was convicted for the indictment that stated that at Vergenoegen East Bank Esse-quibo, he was involved in sexual activity with the child on April 9, 2012. He was, however, acquitted on a second count.
The jury’s verdict was by a proportion of 11 to 1 in favour of guilt on the first count, while it was 10 to 2 in favour of an acquittal on the second count.
When asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced, Rudder asked the jury how it was that he had been found guilty.
However, Justice Navindra Singh, who presided over the trial, cautioned the unrepresented Rudder that he could not enquire from the jury as to its findings, and he was admonished to address the court on sentencing.
He then asked the judge the same question. “I never do it. I know nothing about it,” Rudder protested, before asking the court if it was now possible for him to recover his bail, to which Justice Singh responded in the affirmative.
The convict was then informed that he would be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 10 years.
The prosecution’s case was that Rudder had rubbed his penis against the little girl’s genitals. He thereafter tied a rope around the child’s neck, attached it to the ceiling, and threatened to kill her if she told anyone about what had happened.
The state’s case was led by Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy.
Baptiste, who was formerly on bail and showed up for yesterday’s hearing with his family in tow, appeared visibly shocked after learning his fate. His wife and other relatives were moved to tears after the decision was announced.
The jury’s was unanimous on Baptiste’s guilt.
Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, who presided over the trial, acceded to Richards’ request for a probation report to be done before her client is sentenced. He was, thereafter, remanded into the custody of the police to await his sentence.
According to the charge against Baptiste, between June 1 and June 30, 2007, he had carnal knowledge with the six-year-old girl. It was the prosecution’s case that the pastor had called the child into a room, where he undressed her, undressed himself, and placed her on top of him.
The state’s case against Baptiste was led by Prosecutor Shawnette Austin.