A noted attorney is applauding the local court system for the sentence that was imposed on a father last week for raping his 11-year-old daughter.
Attorney Wayne Marshall said, based on his understanding of the case, the sentence is in keeping with what has occurred in other jurisdictions.
“It is a determination that only the court can make, armed with the information before it, and I think that it’s for us in society to give some credit to the court and the justice system that it is well capable of addressing and punishing and providing a mechanism to right the wrongs that have been done to the victims,” he said.
There was public outrage last week when Justice Stanley John sentenced the perpetrator to 18 years in prison for each of the three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. However, the sentences will be served concurrently, meaning at the same time.
Residents expressed shock and disbelief and called for the sentence to be increased to life in prison and, in some cases, the death penalty.
Marsh, who also acknowledged the public’s dissatisfaction with the punishment, said the judge who is faced with passing the sentence has to make their determination based on the evidence that has been presented.
“He would have to know the circumstances of the court, the individuals themselves, the effect that it had on the victim and thereafter give a sentence that really seeks to punish the convict for his crime as well as providing some sort of justice for the victim,” he said.
Meanwhile, a psychologist has welcomed the successful prosecution of the case.
Naeemah Hazelle, deputy director of the National Counselling Centre in St Kitts and Nevis, believes the case was important in light of the general prevalence of this type of abuse in the region.
“I know there was a bit of controversy about this man getting 18 years but I was excited even to see that he was sentenced to a substantial sentence and all,” she said.