Sheldon Lynch was yesterday afternoon sentenced to two consecutive life sentences by Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall after he was convicted of raping a child on two occasions, beginning when she was 10.
After about three hours of deliberations, a 12-member jury returned its unanimous verdicts, convicting Lynch on two of the four counts levelled against him for raping the same child.
Lynch was convicted for raping the child in December of 2010 and November of 2011.
The jury was, however, unable to arrive at verdicts for charges that he had also raped the child on January 1st and December 31st of 2012; and then again on January 25th of 2013.
The judge ordered that Lynch spend a minimum of 35 years on each conviction before being paroled.
Given a chance to speak, the tearful 46-year-old father of two maintained his innocence, while he attempted to question the court on aspects of the evidence.
“The jury has found you guilty,” the judge, however, stated, even as she admonished him to wisely use the opportunity he had been given to address the court before sentencing.
Explaining to Lynch that the trial had already ended, Justice Morris-Ramlall further reminded the convict that he had been represented by counsel who had the leverage of cross-examining witnesses.
“My Honour, I am speaking the truth; I did not do anything,” Lynch maintained.
Meanwhile, in a plea of mitigation, defence attorney Clyde Forde begged on his client’s behalf for mercy, and the imposition of a sentence “as lenient as possible,” while noting that the man has two young children he would like the opportunity of seeing grow up.
Counsel advanced that a severe sentence would take Lynch away from his children.
Meanwhile, the victim, now 18, according to an impact statement read to the court, spoke of the trauma and fear she still experiences from the assault and her desire of seeing Lynch punished for what he did to her.
The statement was read by Social Worker of Blossom Inc., Renesha Calendar, who said the young woman spoke of being raped repeatedly by Lynch and the many threats he would make to her not to tell anyone. “My life changed after he raped me,” the statement quoted her as saying.
Because of the shame she felt from the assault, she reported that she dropped out of school and had tried to commit suicide.
The young woman also spoke of her childhood being destroyed and the difficulty and fear she has in having relationships.
Noting that she had considered the nature and circumstances under which the assault occurred, Justice Morris-Ramlall told the convict that the child had trusted and became fond of him “until you changed and treated her like your woman.”
“At age 10 you violated her repeatedly…,” the judge said. “She is still a long way from recovering, if ever,” the judge went on to say.
Justice Morris-Ramlall noted too that while counsel had begged for mercy, the convict showed no remorse nor regard for the verdict of his peers, neither personally, nor through his lawyer.
There must be a “balancing act” when weighing justice and mercy, the judge said.
The judge thereafter sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences, ordering that he spends a minimum of 35 years on each charge before becoming eligible for parole.
The state was represented by prosecutors Orinthia Schmidt and Seeta Bishundial.
The trial proceedings were held in-camera at the Sexual Offences Court of the Georgetown High Court.