Man gets seven years for fondling girl, 9

Maurice Fernandes, 55, who was found guilty of fondling a nine-year-old girl, was yesterday sentenced to seven years in jail for the crime.

Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, who presided over the in-camera trial at the Sexual Offences Court, handed down the sentence and noted that Fernandes had not only stolen the child’s innocence but that he also destroyed the trust she reposed in him.

Commenting on what she said was the obvious trust and love the child had for the convict, who assisted her with her academic studies even when her own parents did not, the judge referenced the victim impact statement which mentioned that the girl even recanted the assault allegation to protect Fernandes from being imprisoned…..