Eight years in jail is what Wilmoth Ralph will serve for having sex with an underage girl. The maximum sentence for the crime of sex with a girl under 16, but over 14 years, according to the Sexual Offences Act, is 10 years in jail.
Justice Iain Morley described Ralph’s conduct as a “disgustingly gross breach of trust” when sentencing the farmer who had been previously convicted of rape in relation to this same crime and who had been sentenced to 25 years in jail, where he could have actually been sentenced to the maximum of life in prison.
Ralph, of #1 Armstrong Road, who forced himself on the child in 2010, had appealed his earlier conviction and sentence by Justice Albert Redhead. The Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a re-trial due to errors by the previous trial judge.
But, this time around, the victim who is now 23-year-old, did not want to endure a retrial, so when Ralph said he would plead guilty to the lesser count of unlawful sexual intercourse, Crown Counsel Adlai Smith accepted.
Justice Morley described the agreement to take the plea as one that’s “over-generous” but he said the victim’s “anguish” and not wanting to be “re-traumatised” are understandable.
In determining the sentence, the justice outlined in his written ruling which OBSERVER media obtained yesterday, that he looked at the impact the offence has had on the child and that includes “she could not focus in school….she was taunted by many…no one seems to care for the pains and hurts she is carrying…she is so embarrassed that she believed that her life has no value…no one seeks to help her, only to destroy her’.” These revelations were made in court on Friday in a Social Inquiry Report and Victim Impact Assessment.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)