A thirty-nine-year-old St. Pauls resident, a former employee of the Ministry of Health and driver of the General Hospital Ambulance will spend the next eleven years of his life behind prison bars, having admitted to having sex with his step-daughter and now being her baby’s father.
High Court Judge Madam Justice Paula Gilford presiding at the Number Two Supreme Court operating at the Trade Centre in St George’s on Monday had the sentence handed down on the accused man, who answers to the name Raul Roberts, despite a call for leniency made on his behalf by defence counsel Francis Paul.
Roberts who was initially placed on bail, has pleaded not guilty to the offence, which dated back to 2016, was remanded earlier this year after taking a new position and accepting full responsibility for his action.
According to the evidence emanating from the court, the victim, now a young mother, was fourteen years old when she was lured into going for a drive with Roberts, the man she called daddy having lived with him from the age of three.
The reports went on to say that during that father/daughter drive-out, Roberts forced the young lady into having sex and warned her that she should not tell anyone. It later turned out according to the evidence, that she became pregnant and had to drop out of school.
During the sentencing hearing on Monday defence lawyer, Paul urged the court to take into consideration, the fact that this was his client’s first transgression with the law and that he had pleaded guilty. He further urged the court to look at a rehabilitative aspect of the sentence and the fact that Roberts is now the father of a young baby plus his wife is also five months pregnant.
Paul, therefore, begged the court to impose a sentence that would reflect the seriousness of the offence while at the same time afford Roberts the opportunity to return to society while he can still make a positive contribution.
Nevertheless, in handing down her sentence Judge Gilford had a different view on the matter, according to her the court needs to send a strong message, reminding potential offenders that this type of behaviour would not be accepted.
Judge Gilford went on to say that victims of such offences must be made aware that through the court, they now have a voice, and therefore they no longer a need to hide, but report such offences.
The victim had lived with her accuser all her life, Judge Gilford reminded Roberts that he was placed in a position of trust and therefore his action betrayed that trust when in fact he should be the one protecting the young lady from early sexual contacts.
Meanwhile, in a social inquiry report read in part to the court, the victim noted that on that fateful night she was shocked when her dad made these sexual advances, she wanted to bawl but no sound came out, having been betrayed by the man she called daddy, and later accused of going after her mother’s man.
Moments before delivering her eleven years and six months sentence, the judge challenged Roberts to let his family and the community know that the young lady was speaking the truth and that he had actually done what she said he did. She further reminded Roberts that apart from the victim, society itself needs to be protected from people like him.
Facing a maximum fifteen years in prison Roberts was sentenced to eleven years and six months; he is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after three years.