A 22-year-old man, who absconded his trial on the day the jury was set to deliberate on a verdict has been sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years. The sentence was handed down on Thursday by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the Demerara High Court.
Last month, Alex Garraway called “Uncle Alex” of Lot 1162 Cummings Park ‘E’ Field Sophia, Greater Georgetown was found guilty in his absence of raping and sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl.
The jury found that between November 1 and 30, 2018, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual penetration of a five-year-old girl. Also, during November 2018, the jury found that he sexually assaulted the child by touching and placing his penis at her buttocks.
The facts revealed that Garraway is known to the child, who complained that while she lived with a relative, he “used his birdie to juk in her vagina” during the night. The child also said that he placed his penis at her buttocks, and he did this to her while she was lying on her back on a bed.
A report was made to the Police, and Garraway was arrested and charged with the offences. When the allegations were put to him, he denied them by stating, “I never try anything with [her].”
At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Justice Reynolds said that Garraway violated a little girl in a violent and barbaric manner. As the guardian of the Constitution, he noted that the courts must protect citizens. “Little defencless girls must feel safe and must be made to feel safe…,” he added.
“I speak with a lump in my throat and a heavy heart for us as a society.” According to Justice Reynolds, it is never comfortable for a Judge in these circumstances to see a young man, in this case, Garraway who is just a little older than his granddaughter.
“…And who did not have the courage to face up to the fall out of his conduct and who would have absconded on the final day of these proceedings.”
Even as he wrestled with the circumstances of this case, the Judge said that when he weighed the positives with the negative, he did not find even a strand of redeeming or mitigating feature.” He nevertheless, commended the victim who is now seven for telling her story.
The convict’s lawyer Ravindra Mohabir said that his client is someone of good character and that if given the necessary professional help there is hope that he can be rehabilitated. The lawyer asked the court to impose a sentence that would serve justice for both the convict and victim.
For her part, State Prosecutors Nafeeza Baig and Sarah Martin urged the Trial Judge to consider the child’s tender and vulnerable age and the fact that she has to live with the trauma of the incident for the rest of her life. “He [Garraway] took her innocence,” the prosecutor said, adding that the victim was robbed of her innocence and a normal childhood.
The now-convicted child rapist has been out on bail pending the hearing and determination of his trial. Ever since he absconded his trial, an arrest warrant has been issued for him.