JUSTICE Simone Morris-Ramlall on Friday handed down a life sentence to Ganesh Chaitram who was found guilty by a 12-member jury of raping a child.
He will be eligible for parole after serving 45 years in jail. On Thursday, as the judge was about to sum up the case, the accused told his wife he was going to get something to eat and did not return to the High Court; as such, the summation was deferred to Friday after which the jury deliberated for about two hours before arriving at a unanimous guilty verdict.
However, the wife of the accused was present as the sentence was handed down and she showed no emotions. She said she is unaware of her husband’s whereabouts and went looking for him all night on Thursday.
In her plea of mitigation, defence attorney Beulah Williams told the court that the accused is 38-years-old and he has a wife and is a father of five and from her discussions with him, he indicated that he was remorseful and sorry for what he did. She related that he wants to live a good life and take care of his family. As such, she asked the court to be merciful in sentencing and to temper justice with mercy since the accused is distraught.
However, Social Worker Saffina Campbell, who is attached to the Child- Care and Protection Agency, East Coast Demerara department, told the court that she is representing the complainant who is angry and did not want to attend court.
Campbell stated that she got to know the victim in May 2016 and she spoke to her in relation to a statement which the victim had penned and asked that it be read in court. The victim related that she spent most of her life with Chaitram, siblings and another relative.
She added that Chaitram used to drink and smoke, and hit and curse a member of her family.
She added that the worst part was being sexually abused by him and her mother not believing her.
The victim is presently living in a “group home” with strangers, as are her four siblings, and as such their lives, too, have been disrupted by the incident.
Noting that in her present circumstances she is devoid of love and attention, the complainant said she has suffered unbearable pain and wants Chaitram to be punished for what he did to her.
She also wants him to feel how she is feeling: a prisoner of her pain.
Justice Morris-Ramlall in handing down the sentence told the court that she has considered the nature and circumstances of the offence. The judge said that the accused knew the victim and he had sexual penetration with her after waking her up in the dead of night, doing unspeakable things to her in the same bed where her siblings slept. Justice Morris-Ramlall told the court that the incident has caused discomfort and pain, adding that four siblings of the victim herself are wards of the state.
According to the state’s case, Ganesh was indicted for the rape of a child, a family member, between the 1st and 31st of May, 2016, when the child was only 10-years-old.
The state was represented by Shawnette Austin, Seeta Bishundyal and Orinthia Schmidt, while the defence attorney was Beulah Williams.