BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 28, 2020– Former police constable Darren Martinez, 24, who was convicted of assault of a child under the age of 16 by penetration, was sentenced to 12 years in prison today by Justice Colin Williams.
On February 21, 2016, Martinez had inserted his finger in the private part of a female child who was 8 years old. At the time, Martinez, the father of two children, was the boyfriend of the child’s relative.
Martinez was indicted on September 13, 2017, and on December 17, 2019, a jury of 9 found him guilty of the offence. The jury’s verdict was unanimous, and sentencing was deferred until today.
Before he decided on the sentence, Justice Williams heard pleas for mitigation from 5 character witnesses, Martinez himself and his attorney, Oswald Twist. Twist submitted that Martinez had no previous conviction and that he had expressed his remorse for what he did.
Twist also said that there had been a 4-year delay of the trial.
But Crown Counsel Riis Cattouse countered the mitigation factors by submitting that there are four aspects of sentencing: retribution, deterrence, prevention and rehabilitation. He urged the court to pay particular attention to retribution, which could be stated through the court as society’s abhorrence for a particular type of offence.
He further stated that the aggravating factors were that the victim was only 8 years old at the time, that the offence was committed at the home of the victim’s family, that the convict was close to the family, that he was a police officer and that he had breached the family’s trust that was given to him.
Justice Williams said that the age of the victim was significant because she was particularly young and in this case the aggravating circumstances far outweighed the mitigating circumstances.
Nevertheless, he imposed the minimum sentence of 12 years.
Feature photo: Darren Martinez