A man was yesterday afternoon sentenced to 28 years for the rape of a six-year-old girl after a jury found him guilty of committing two attacks on the child.
In handing down her sentence to Colvin Norton, 24, at the Sexual Offences Court in Georgetown, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow noted that the convict appeared to have become emboldened by raping the child a mere five days after the first assault and added that he may have gone on to so do again had her mother not caught him in the act, “red handed.”
After about three hours of deliberations, a 12-member jury returned with unanimous verdicts of guilty, thereby convicting Norton on both counts of rape of a child under the age of 16.
Given a chance to speak after the announcement of the verdicts, the unrepresented convict told the court that he had nothing to say.
“I don’t have anything to say at this moment,” said an expressionless Norton.
The charges against Norton had stated that he sexually penetrated the child on August 1st, 2013 and then again on August 6th of the same year.
He was 19-years-old at the time.
A victim impact statement was presented to the court before sentencing.
Counsellor and court support personnel Celeste Mullin, of ChildLink Guyana Inc., read to the court what she said were the personal views expressed by the child, who is now 11-years-old.
She said the child began by relating to her how ashamed she first felt after the assault, believing that she was the cause of what had happened to her.
The court heard from the statement that the young girl had struggled for a long time to talk about the incident but found the force within her to speak out.
According to the statement, the young girl related that her grades at school dropped because of the constant flashbacks of the assault, which she experienced during her preparations to write examinations.
The young girl, according to the statement, also noted that she no longer felt ashamed as much as she did before, knowing that the rapist would be punished for what he had done to her.
Asked whether he had anything to say after the statement was read to the court, Norton again responded in the negative.
In a stern reprimand to the convict, Justice Barlow told him in no uncertain terms that he had breached a position of trust after the child’s mother left her in his care.
Recalling evidence presented during the trial, which was held in-camera, the judge said that after raping the child on the first occasion, Norton then sought to silence the girl by declaring that if she said anything, her mother would not believe and would kill both of them.
After his threat, the judge said that Norton seemed to have become emboldened, which was evident by him again raping the child a mere five days later.
Noting that the young girl’s mother had walked in and caught Norton “red handed” in the act during the second assault, the judge opined that he may have gone on to repeatedly assault the child.
The judge said this against the backdrop of the child being raped the second time, in an apartment not far from where other adults were and with scant regard for the fact that anyone could have walked in at any time.
“But you became emboldened when you silenced her after the first assault,” the judge said.
She told Norton that if there were a mitigating factor to consider on his behalf, it would be the fact that he was 19-years-old at the time of committing the offence. The judge was, however, quick to point out that his age in no way justified or excused the reprehensible act he perpetrated on the six-year-old.
On each count, the young man was sentenced to 24 years of jail time. An additional four years were, however, added for the aggravating circumstance of the child’s mother having caught the convict raping her daughter five days after he would have first violated her.
Justice Barlow ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
Additionally, the court ordered that the convict be exposed to any sexual offence rehabilitation programmes offered by the prison service.
Given Norton’s earlier admission to not being able to properly read and write, the judge also ordered that he enlists in the penal system’s literacy programmes.
The court noted also that the young girl continues to receive counselling for the trauma she would have endured as a result of the assaults.
The state’s case was led by Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs, in association with Narissa Leander and Tiffini Lyken.