Child rape accused freed following retrial

Collin Cummings has been acquitted by a jury on a child rape charge

Collin Cummings, the man who had been on trial for a second time at the High Court in Demerara for the offence of rape committed on an eight-year-old girl, has unanimously been found not guilty by a jury on Monday.

Cummings, 60, has left the courthouse a free man after the jurors returned a verdict that acquitted him of the offence of rape of a child under the age of 16. He was represented by Attorney-at-Law Kevin Morgan.

Earlier this year, following the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn Cummings’s conviction from his first trial before Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, he was scheduled for a second trial before Justice Navindra Singh, which concluded on Monday. Cummings entered an alibi plea at that retrial.

When the jurors had returned with their unanimous guilty verdict in 2018, Cummings had maintained his innocence, telling Justice Morris-Ramlall, “I am innocent of this charge brought against me.” He had been accused of sexually penetrating the girl on August 20, 2016.

It was alleged that he had inserted his finger into the child’s vagina, and a medical examination had found that the girl’s hymen was not intact.

Justice Morris-Ramlall had sentenced Cummings to 30 years’ imprisonment, and had ordered that he does not become eligible for parole until after serving 25 years of his sentence.

He had appealed his 2018 conviction by Justice Morris-Ramlall, arguing among other things that the trial Judge had, in several instances, misdirected the jury; and had failed to put his defence of alibi to the jury.

In relation to the ground of alibi in this appeal, Cummings had contended that his mother had testified that at the time and place the eight-year-old girl had alleged she was raped, her son was at another place.

Back in July 2023, the Court of Appeal of Guyana had unanimously overturned the elderly man’s conviction for rape, finding that the trial Judge had committed errors that rendered that conviction unsafe. The justices had vacated Cummings’s conviction for statutory rape, and had sent his case back to the Demerara High Court to be retried. They had held that a retrial was warranted in the interest of justice.

That appeal had been heard by Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, and additional High Court Judge Jo-Ann Barlow. The State had been represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP), Dionne Mc Cammon.