(GUYANA CHRONICLE) – An unremorseful Navindra Badal, 46, was on Wednesday afternoon sentenced to life imprisonment for two counts of rape of a child under age 16 years old in the Sexual Offences Court by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry in the Demerara High Court, Guyana.
After several hours of deliberations by a mixed 12-member jury, they arrived at the unanimous guilty verdicts.
The foreman told the court that they found the accused guilty of both counts of rape which took place in the county of Demerara.
According to the indictment presented by the State, on the 1st count, the accused, between July 1 and 31, 2016, engaged in sexual penetration of a child under age 16 and on the 2nd count, the accused, between August 14 and 15, 2016, engaged in sexual penetration of a child under age 16.
In handing down the sentence, the judge told the court that she took into consideration certain facts such as the age of the victim who was only nine years old when she was violated, and it was a repeat offence which has left the victim emotionally scarred for life, and that the accused, who is known to the victim, violated his position of trust.
Justice Sewnarine-Beharry added that the sentence was geared towards sending a strong message to sexual offenders that the court would not condone such acts on children.
The judge said for the 1st count she sentenced the convict to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole before serving 45 years and for the 2nd count, she also sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole before serving 45 years. The sentences will run consecutively.
The convict, who appeared to be shell-shocked, was mumbling under his breath before he was led away to jail while his relatives were seen crying in the courtroom after his sentencing.
Defence attorney Maxwell McKay said the accused was on bail and never spent a day in jail before his conviction and had no priors.
Victim Impact Statement
Counsellor attached to Child Link Guyana Inc. Celeste Mullin told the court that she prepared a statement on behalf of the victim which she read in open court on Wednesday before the convict was sentenced.
She related that the child felt sad with what ‘Uncle Ravi’ did to her and started to steal things from her mother to keep friends and didn’t seem to be normal since.
Mullin added that the victim said she really felt fond of the accused before the incidents because they used to play and go to the shop but that feeling changed after he did bad things to her.
The victim in the statement said: “I want him to go to jail for what he did to me.”
The state was represented by Lisa Cave and Orinthia Schmidt.