Headline — 22 December 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Bert Vasquez gets 4 years for attempted rape

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Dec. 20, 2018– Prison inmate Bert Vasquez, 35, who is serving a sentence of 10 years for forcible abduction and aggravated assault of an indecent nature, had 4 years more added on to his sentence on Monday, December 17, when Justice Colin Williams imposed a sentence on him of 4 years for attempted rape in relation to another incident.

Justice Williams stipulated that the sentence should run consecutively to any other sentence Vasquez is serving. So Vasquez will be serving a total prison sentence of 14 years.

On November 7, a jury of 5 women and 4 men found Vasquez not guilty of forcible abduction, but guilty of attempted rape. The jury’s not guilty verdict for forcible abduction was in the proportion of 7 to 2, while its verdict for attempted rape was unanimous.

The victim of the attempted rape, who was 20 years old at the time, testified that she was walking on Freetown Road, coming from work and heading for home, when Vasquez drove beside her and offered to give her a ride home. She said she accepted the offer because she knew Vasquez.

But instead of taking her to her home on Calle Del Mar Street, Vasquez, she said, took her to a remote area in Belama Phase 4. She said Vasquez insisted on having sex with her, against her will after she repelled his advances.

She said Vasquez even intimated to her that he was armed with a firearm and he tapped a bag he had in his car to indicate that the firearm was in it.

She said after he did not succeed in raping her in Belama Phase 4, Vasquez drove her to Los Lagos. She said he apparently changed his mind after his attempts at forced sexual intercourse were interrupted by a person who had turned on a flashlight in an area opposite from where they were, which was near Nova Shrimp Farm.

Vasquez was not represented by an attorney, while Crown Counsel Riis Cattouse represented the Crown.

Vasquez’s court appearances are not over. He still faces a charge of murder for the death of Jasmine Lowe, 13, for which trial is pending.

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