By Latrishka Thomas
The wails of a rape victim resounded in a court room yesterday as she addressed her attackers before the sentence was passed.
Two teen boys appeared before Justice Ann-Marie Smith in the High Court on Thursday for sentencing after a jury found them guilty of taking turns to rape a 15-year-old girl.
The boys were just 16 years old at the time.
The incident occurred in 2019 when the complainant was at home with her three younger sisters. One of the defendants – a friend of hers who frequented her home – called and indicated that he was coming by.
The girl reportedly heard the voice of the second accused through the phone and immediately told her friend not to bring him to her house.
Both boys still went to the house and she asked the unwelcomed boy to leave on several occasions. But he got upset and forced her into a bedroom where he pushed her onto the bed and raped her.
While in the act, the victim’s friend came in and also had non-consensual sex with her.
When her friend left, the first teen raped her again.
At the sentencing hearing, the court first heard from the victim’s mother who told the court that the incident had changed her daughter a lot.
She said that the young girl became depressed, reserved and hostile to her siblings, so much so that she is “sometimes fearful”.
The mother told the court that the day after being molested, her daughter suffered an attack of some sort that resulted in her being taken to the hospital.
Doctors claimed that she was suicidal and suggested that she be admitted to the psychiatric hospital but the mother did not agree.
Instead, she said she spoke to the family doctor who referred them to a psychologist.
After the dispirited mother spoke, the accused were asked to issue apologies to the victim.
They both told the girl that they were “very sorry” and “will not do it again”.
The judge went on to ask them to also apologise for calling her names and harassing her after the ordeal.
When asked, “do you accept their apology,” the victim shook her head from left to right.
She then asked if she could say a few words to the two convicts and, with her words muffled by her weeping, she said, “I really hope you take this time to focus and look at what you have done and improve.
“And I really hope you consider what you have done and, having siblings, know that this could happen to any one of them and how it could affect you.”
Thereafter, the judge scolded the boys for victim blaming and harassment and said that although they seemed to have turned their lives around, they “must be punished”.
Justice Smith then fined the youths $4,000 each, which they have just over a month to pay.
If they fail to pay on time, they will spend six months behind bars.
“Depriving her of her dignity…cannot be compensated but this is what the court has come up with in lieu of a custodial sentence,” the judge remarked.
Justice Smith also stated that the monies should be used to help the victim pay for private counselling sessions.
She then ordered the boys to spend two years on probation and said that they must also undergo counselling to learn to respect women.
She said that a report of their progress should be provided every six months.
Since the two accused were 16 at the time of committing the offence the maximum possible prison term that they could have been given is three years, as stipulated by the Child Justice Act of 2015.