DANGRIGA, Stann Creek District, Wed. Apr. 26, 2017–Shortly after 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, Robert Taylor stood in the prisoner’s dock in the Dangriga Supreme Court of Justice Dennis Hanomansingh, awaiting his mother, who was scheduled to make a mitigation plea on his behalf before the judge passed sentence on him for convictions of rape and abduction.
Taylor, 23, a laborer of Monument Site, Dangriga, was indicted on two counts of abduction and one count of rape for an incident that occurred on Sunday, January 25, 2015, in Dangriga.
His mother was a few minutes late in coming to the court, and Taylor, after asking the court to have mercy on him, told Justice Hanomansingh to go ahead and sentence him. The judge urged him to wait a few more minutes. He did.
Taylor’s mother, Elenita Logan, eventually came and she told the court that her son is very helpful to her and he had gotten a raw deal when he was sent to prison. Then she broke down and began to cry.
A jury of 4 men and 5 women returned unanimous guilty verdicts against Taylor for one count of abduction and one count of rape. The judge had instructed the jury to return a not guilty verdict for the second count of abduction, because the virtual complainant had failed to testify at the trial.
Before announcing the sentence to Taylor, Justice Hanomansingh told him that the jury was sure of the evidence which indicated that he was the person who abducted the complainant and raped her. Justice Hanomansingh told Taylor that anal sex is still considered as rape.
“There is too much violence against women. I hope your sentence will send a message to those men out there that they cannot fulfill their desires through violence. Women give life, yet they are still being disrespected,” said Justice Hanomansingh.
The judge added, “I had to check the age of the complainant when she was giving her statement, because she looked so young. You have shown no remorse up to this stage.”
“Women are partners; they are our equal partners. I wish that while you are in prison, you will reflect on your life. Only your mother came to give evidence on your behalf,” the judge told Taylor.
Justice Hanomansingh explained to Taylor that the sentence for rape is not less than 8 years and for abduction it is not less than 10 years.
After providing that explanation to Taylor, Justice Hanomansingh sentenced him to 12 years in prison, telling him, “I will give you credit for the time you spent on remand, two and a half years.”
“Hopefully, the sentence will act as deterrence; you are sentenced to 12 years for each of the offences. The sentences are to run concurrently,” Justice Hanomansingh told Taylor. “The sentences are to take effect from today’s date.”
The Crown’s evidence at the trial was led by senior Crown counsel Cecil Ramirez. Taylor was unrepresented by an attorney.
In his defense, Taylor told the court that he was at home all day and night on Sunday, January 25, 2015, and he did not go anywhere. He called one witness, his mother, Elenita Logan.
The incident began as a carjacking around 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, and quickly escalated into the horrific act of rape when the victim was sodomized by her abductors, one of whom was armed with a knife and the other with a handgun.
The woman was travelling in a car which slowed down in the Benguche area when someone threw a stone at the car. The driver got out to see what had happened, and that was when two men walked up to the car and ordered the driver back inside and then he was ordered to drive to the cemetery area.
When they reached the cemetery area, the men tied up the driver and his 25-year-old female passenger, and then anally raped her. The men, after raping the woman, also robbed the two abductees of their valuables before driving off in the car.