(Trinidad Express) Former police prosecutor Harry Ramlochan, who raped a 17-year-old child at the San Fernando police station when she went there to make a report, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison with hard labour.
Then acting Sgt Harry Ramlochan was 50 years at the time he raped the girl. He is now 65 years old.
It took 16 years for the case to be completed.
The sentence was handed down yesterday afternoon by justice Althea Alexis-Windsor in the San Fernando Second Criminal Court, after the judge who took into consideration a plea of mitigation by Ramlochan’s attorneys.
The attack has severely scarred the victim for the rest of her life, prosecutor Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal said earlier this month, during the case in the San Fernando Supreme Court.
She said she hoped that through her resilience, the victim will be able to overcome the effects of the incident. After spending an hour and a half in the jury room, jurors found Ramlochan guilty on the charge of rape.
The trial had lasted almost a month before justice Althea Alexis-Windsor in the San Fernando Second Criminal Court. The jury heard from the victim and the accused during the proceedings.
The victim testified that on Saturday May 5, 2001 she went with her mother to the San Fernando police station to make a report that her mother had been beaten that morning.
Ramlochan took the mother inside to make the report and then said he wanted to take a statement from her daughter. Her mother advised her to go with him.
In her evidence the victim said that Ramlochan took her to a dormitory where he asked her if she had ever had sex. She told him she was waiting until marriage.
While speaking to her an officer came into the room and left. Ramlochan then tried to hug and kiss the girl and she pulled away.
He took victim by taxi to get change for $100 at upper High Street, San Fernando and returned and bought her a soft drink. The victim said he offered her a drink of rum but she refused. She also refused the money Ramlochan offered her when he took her to the Courts and Process Office.
He became upset and closed the door and pushed her against a cabinet and forcefully kissed her and bit her lips. He then pushed her against a wall and pulled down her pants and underwear. He pushed her on a sponge on the ground where he raped her.
He told her that should she tell anyone both of them will get in trouble. He then dropped the victim and her mother home and spoke to her father at a bar. The victim spoke to her teachers the following Monday and the next Wednesday she and her father made a report to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).
Inspector Christine Mc Millan took her to a doctor who gave a medical report that stated the victim’s hymen was recently ruptured. Back at the police station the sponge was pointed out to Mc Milan and the presence of human sperm was found after it was sent to the Forensic Sciences Complex. Mc Millan charged him with rape.
The prosecution team of Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal and Sarah De Silva brought ten witnesses during the trial.
In his defence, Ramlochan denied having sex with the then 17-year-old. He said that on the day she came to the police station she insisted that he arrest her father.
He said when she arrived at the station, her lip was already swollen and she held a towel over her mouth. He said she told him that while her father was beating her mother, he slapped her on her mouth. He said he changed the money to give to the then teen because he felt sorry for her after she told him her father never gave them money.
Ramlochan was represented by attorneys Kevin Ratiram and Chris Ramlal. They brought a doctor and a pastor as defence witnesses.
In his plea for mitigation, Ratiram asked the judge to consider his client’s age, that he had an unblemished disciplinary record since he joined the police service in 1972. He also said that his client was heavily involved in the church and had raised two of his five grandchildren as his own after their father drowned.
The aggravating factors in terms of the offender, Ratiram said, included that he was in a position of trust and was 50 years-old at the time. Ratiram said the range of sentence for his client could be between ten to 15 years behind bars.
Dougdeen-Jaglal however gave a starting point of 15 to 20 years. She said the only mitigating factor in terms of the offence was that no weapon was used.
An aggravating factor in terms of the offence was that it was the victim’s her first sexual encounter. Dougdeen-Jaglal said.
She said the victim was still suffered psychologically and had been severely scarred by the rape but had shown “tremendous resilience and made something of herself.”
The judge said the aggravating factors in the case were that the convict was a person of trust being a police prosecutor and acting seargent and there was a level of vulnerability as the girl and her mother had gone to make a report about domestic violence.
The judge considered the convict’s age and child’s age at the time of the attack, and the fact that it was her first sexual encounter.