Rodney Kurtzious, 31, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment after a jury convicted him for raping a one-year-old girl, whose genitals he tore during the assault, causing her to be hospitalised.
Describing the act as reprehensible and for which a strong message of condemnation needed to be sent to society, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow classed the assault a “worst case scenario.”
She said that the case was “troubling,” not only because the victim was a baby, but recalling evidence presented at trial, she said that the assault was carried out in view of other children.
Against this background, the judge said that it was for such cases that the maximum penalty of life imprisonment becomes warranted.
She told the convict that he breached the trust the child’s mother obviously reposed in him as she had left the infant in his care while she ran an errand for him. She added that instead of nurturing and caring for the child, he violated her.
“Her body suffered tears,” the judge said, as she referenced findings of the medical certificate admitted in the trial.
So severe were the injuries, Justice Barlow said, that the child had to be hospitalised for three days after being referred from a health centre, which was unable to deal with the medical complaints presented.
“The court has a duty to send a strong message that such acts will not be condoned,” the judge said sternly.
Justice Barlow said that after considering the nature and circumstances of the case—the child’s age, the injuries caused to her body and the fact that Kurtzious breached a position of trust—it all amounted to aggravating factors, warranting a sentence of life imprisonment.
She said that there were no factors before her for which the court could have turned to mitigate the sentence.
The judge pointed out to Kurtzious that he said nothing when given a chance, which the court could have considered in mitigation.
When asked if he had anything to say before the court passed sentence on him, the unrepresented Kurtzious, who wore an expressionless look on his face, responded, “No, my Honour.”
Although imposing a life sentence, the judge ordered that Kurtzious serve a full 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Further to that, she ordered that he be exposed to programmes offered by the prison to reform sex offenders.
Justice Barlow then admonished the convict to wisely use his time behind bars to reflect on what he had done and resolve to change his life so that once released, he would not reoffend.
She also made it clear to him that parole was not automatic and she explained that he would partly have to demonstrate good behaviour and signs of reform, which are among the factors for consideration of release.
Kurtzious sexually penetrated the child on July 27th of last year.
After about three hours of deliberations, the jury returned with its majority verdict of 11 to 1, finding Kurtzious guilty as charged.
The trial proceedings were held in-camera at the Sexual Offences Court of the Georgetown High Court.
The case was prosecuted by state attorneys Abigail Gibbs and Seeta Bishundial.