A 27-year-old man will be spending the next 15 years behind bars for raping a 14-year-old girl. Akeem Wong, 27, also known as, “Ben Laden”, pleaded guilty to the charge, which stated that on June 30, 2017, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual penetration with the child.
The custodial sentence was handed down on Monday by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the High Court in Georgetown. A probation report stated that the Half Mile, Wismar, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) resident is illiterate, associated with persons of unsavoury character, and was involved in many delinquent activities.
According to the probation officer, Police records show that Wong was wanted for a murder, which occurred in Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini), and was only arrested in 2018 after a wanted bulletin was issued. The probation officer told the court that Wong told her that he was also previously charged for breaking and entering and robbery, but claimed that the charges were dismissed.
Wong blamed his bad upbringing on his father, stating that he did not have a male role model in his life.
A resident of Half Mile, Linden, told the probation officer that Wong was a good person who was falsely accused of crimes. Another resident claimed that he stole her sister’s cell phone and jumped her fence one time to escape from the police.
Some other residents expressed that he was involved in delinquent activities, stating that he was a “known thief.” Reports from the Mazaruni Prison indicated that he is a well-behaved prisoner who was given special privileges because of his conduct. In the report, Wong admitted that he has anger problems when he consumes alcohol.
He claimed that the young girl told him that she was 16 and persuaded him to have sex with her.
He nevertheless begged the teenager for forgiveness, stating that he knows she is hurting.
Wong told the probation officer that he was ready to pay the consequences for his actions.
But in an interview with the probation officer, the girl, who is now 17, vehemently denied telling him that she was the age of consent.
The victim expressed that she is still living in fear and wants justice, stating that she wants to see Wong locked up for a very long time. According to the young lady, she still gets flashbacks about the incident and would think of him coming to her home to get her.
Attorney-at-Law Mark Conway begged the court to temper justice with mercy. He said that there is hope for his client to become a better person.
State Prosecutor Teriq Mohammed urged the court to take into consideration that a weapon and violence were used during the commissioning of the offence. He also asked the court to consider the psychological trauma the young girl continues to endure.
When given a chance to speak, Wong told Justice Sewnarine-Beharry, “I begging you to be lenient with me. If you could forgive me and give me second chance. I now understand that a girl cannot permit you to have sex with her and she is underage. I have a young child; I never grow up with my father and I don’t want him to grow up like that.”