IN his absence, Alex Garraway, called “Uncle Alex” was, on Thursday, sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years for the rape and sexual assault committed on a five-year-old girl.
Garraway, 22, of Cummings Park, ‘E’ Field Sophia, was sentenced by Justice Brassington Reynolds in the Sexual Offences Court of the Demerara High Court.
In May, the absentee was convicted by a jury for engaging in sexual penetration with the victim between November 1, 2018, and April 30, 2019, in the county of Demerara. He was also convicted for sexually assaulting the child by touching her buttocks. Due to Garraway absconding from the court, Justice Reynolds had issued a warrant for his arrest.
During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, a probation report was read in court by Remesia Lewis, a social worker. Lewis told the court that persons in Garraway’s community described him as “a good youth”. The social worker further told the court that whenever he imbibed, he would be involved in frequent fights. Also, Garraway reportedly smoked marijuana.
According to Lewis, Garraway should have been the protector and guardian of the child, but instead, he violated her and betrayed her trust which may cause her to suffer from the psychological effects of this incident for many years and affect her general wellbeing.
“It is believed that children should be allowed to live a normal life with the guidance, supervision and support of every adult member of the family, community and by extension, the society,” the social worker said, as she recommended that a strong message be sent as a reminder that children should be protected at all times for them to develop into well-adjusted individuals.
Despite Garraway’s absence, his attorney Ravindra Mohabir made a plea of mitigation on his behalf, telling the court that his client can be rehabilitated.
Meanwhile, State Prosecutor, Nafeeza Baig pleaded with the court to consider the prevalence of such crimes in today’s society, along with the nature and gravity of the crimes.
Before imposing the sentence, Justice Reynolds considered the nature and circumstances under which the offence was committed and the need to protect “little defenceless girls” in society.
In imposing the life sentence on Garraway, Justice Reynolds ordered that 20 years be spent in jail before he is eligible for parole.
The prosecution’s case was that Garraway is known to the child’s family. During the periods mentioned in the charges, Garraway would come into the child’s bedroom at night and rape her while she was staying with relatives in Sophia. The child subsequently confided in her relatives and the matter was reported to the police. Garraway was later arrested and charged.