Hours before receiving the verdict from the jury at the High Court in a pending rape trial, the accused on Tuesday succumbed at a hospital after he ingested a poisonous substance.
William Bassant ingested a poisonous substance at his home and succumbed at the Diamond Diagnostics Centre, on the East Bank of Demerara.
Bassant was before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow and a mixed jury on two counts of rape. According to the particulars of the case, in 2013 Bassant engaged in sexual activities with a female under the age of 16.
According to information received, Bassant and the young woman, who was 15 years old at the time, reportedly corresponded via text messages and grew close. The court had previously heard that the young woman’s phone was damaged, and as such, she communicated with him through a friend.
During the trial, the court heard that the accused, who was in his late thirties at the time, picked the young woman up from her home under the pretence that he would be dropping her to school. However, the young woman related that after they passed her school she panicked. Bassant told the young girl that they would be going to his house, and according to reports, she followed him inside. The court was told that when they reached his house, the now dead man pulled out a cutlass and threatened the young woman, forcing her to engage in sexual activities with him.
The girl’s mother learnt of her daughter’s absence from school that day and began enquiring about her whereabouts which led her to Bassant’s house in the company of several Police ranks. Bassant was arrested and charged with two counts of rape.
On Monday, the man was due in court to receive the verdict but was absent. As such, the Judge postponed the ruling to Tuesday; however, on Tuesday after he once again failed to appear, an arrest warrant was issued for him and the matter was further postponed to Wednesday.
However, on Wednesday the brother of the deceased related to the court the startling development, and as such, the matter was dismissed.