Guyana: Teen faces rapist in court, says she attempted suicide many times

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Guyana: Teen faces rapist in court, says she attempted suicide many times
Morris Johnson was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment
Morris Johnson was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment

(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) — A 41-year-old taxi driver of Linden, Region 10 was on Friday sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old girl in 2017.

Morris Johnson was sentenced by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the High Court after he was found guilty of the offence in August by a 12-member jury.

The charge read that between August 12-13, 2017 at Linden, Johnson engaged in sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

Johnson was represented by Attorneys Ronald Burch-Smith and Keoma Griffith while Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs represented the State.

A probation report, which was read in court, revealed that Johnson is the father of two children and his reputed wife is currently seven months pregnant.

The wife described him as “a caring and hardworking person” while his family said that he is “a decent, humble and polite person.”

The probation officer explained taxi drivers in the area where Johnson worked, revealed that there were rumours that he was involved “in such a thing.”

An impact assessment report on the victim stated that she suffers occasionally from nightmares as a result of the traumatic experience and is usually teased at school.

The victim gave her survivor testimony in court on Friday as she bravely faced Johnson and asked the court for justice to be served.

In what she described as the worst day of her life because Johnson took away her pride and dignity, the victim explained that her life has not been the same since that day.

The victim explained that she was humiliated, became depressed and attempted suicide many times.

The incident, the victim explained, has left her distrustful of the opposite sex and she now views them as the worst creatures on earth, including her family members.

The victim’s mother said that the incident had affected her daughter’s academic performance.

In mitigation, attorney-at-law Griffith asked the court to consider that his client is the sole breadwinner for his family and has another child on the way while Prosecutor Gibbs reminded the court that Morris took away the teen’s innocence on that dreadful day he raped her.

Johnson, Gibbs said, dragged the teen from his motorcar after he raped her and left her alone at the side of the road.

The prosecutor asked the court to consider the increase in sexual offences and to send a strong message to offenders.

Justice Reynolds said that Johnson preyed on the young girl and capitalised on her vulnerability, however, the Judge said that he does not believe that Johnson is a “sicko that goes prowling in the night” but something in him “needs serious attention.”

The Judge sentenced Johnson to 18 years imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after serving 15-years.

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