A 41-year-old man who broke into a woman’s house and raped her at knife point, was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 40 years in prison, after a jury unanimously found him guilty of the offence.
When given a chance to speak, a seemingly shocked Julius Branker, professed his innocence after the foreman ann-ounced the verdict.
He stated he was not guilty, and that the police knew where he could have been found if they wanted him.
For his part, defence attorney Maxwell McKay said that his client has firm religious beliefs, is a hard worker and a model prisoner.
He said that the father of three has been accused of committing petty crimes on a number occasions, but was never convicted.
Prosecutor Shawnette Austin told the court, however, that checks with the prison proved otherwise. She said that prison officials had confirmed yesterday afternoon that Branker had previous convictions, though they were unable to say for what exactly.
She noted, however, that they did communicate that the convict is currently on remand on charges of break and enter and larceny.
A victim impact statement read to the court by the complainant’s support person, detailed how traumatized the ordeal has left her, which was described as a “nightmare,” and a discomforting feeling she has to live with for the rest of her life.
Support person, Halima Khan of Red Thread, quoted the complainant as saying, “I feel nasty. I am always shaking and it’s difficult to face my children after what has happened to me.”
The woman, Khan read, says that she has forgiven the rapist, noting that he must be prohibited from hurting others. She added that he needs help and should “turn to Christ, as only he can help him.”
The court heard too, that because of the assault, the woman does not know how to have relationships with anyone.
Before imposing sentence, Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall said that she had considered the nature of the offence committed at the hands of Branker, who broke into the privacy and comfort of the woman’s home in the wee hours and violated her.
From the evidence presented, the judge noted that the convict held the woman at knife point and thereafter raped her on the bed in which her 18-month-old child was sleeping at the time.
The judge recalled that the child eventually ended up under the bed, though she said it was not stated at the trial how the infant got up there.
Justice Morris-Ramlall said that the convict had no regard for the verdict of his peers, nor did he show any remorse, either personally or through his attorney.
She highlighted too, that he did not ask for the court’s mercy.
When the 40-year prison sentence was announced, a visibly shocked and distressed Branker looked over to his mother who wore a sombre look on her face. He then sat and helplessly placed his face into the palm of his hands.
The judge ordered that he is to spend 35 years before becoming eligible for parole.
“The (virtual complainant) VC has advised you to seek comfort in God. You have time to do that,” the judge told the convict, before he was escorted from the courtroom.
The assault was committed on February 15, 2014.
The trial proceedings were held in camera at the Sexual Offences Court of the High Court in Georgetown.
The state’s case was presented by Austin, in association with Prosecutors Seeta Bishundial and Orinthia Schmidt.