‘Crying’ rapist sentenced to 21 years behind bars

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A 31-year-old taxi driver was on Wednesday sentenced to 21 years imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl in 2019.

Sahadeo Pooran, known as “Omesh”, was on trial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow at the Demerara High Court for the offence, which stated that on September 27, 2019, he engaged in sexual penetration with a child, who is under the age of 16.

A 12-member jury earlier this month found Pooran guilty. The State was represented by prosecutors Sarah Martin and Nafeeza Baig, while Pooran was represented by attorney-at-law, Euclin Gomes.

The prosecutors asked the judge to consider the age of the accused, the prevalence of the offence, and the fact that Pooran showed no remorse for his action. The prosecutors also urged the court to consider the stain that is left on the victim’s life and the fact that her innocence was snatched away by Pooran.

Gomes, in his plea of mitigation, told the court that his client’s common-law wife is currently pregnant; he begged the court to temper justice with mercy.

Pooran, who cried uncontrollably throughout the hearing, maintained that he was innocent of the charge but said, “I’m very sorry” as he begged the judge for leniency.

Before imposing the sentence, the judge considered the age of the victim, the trust persons placed in Pooran relating to the transportation of their children and also the confinement of the victim.

Justice Barlow said that she found no mitigating factors since Pooran showed no remorse for the heinous act.  In addition to the 21 years imprisonment, Pooran was also ordered to attend counselling sessions behind bars.

Sahadeo Pooran begged the court for mercy (Photo: News Room/March 24, 2021)

According to reports, on the day in question, the child left home at about 08:00h for school. Pooran stopped his car and offered her a “free drop” to which she agreed. During the journey, Pooran picked up two other persons, dropped them off, and then took the victim to a house.

He reportedly held onto the child’s hands and forced her into the house. The court heard that Pooran locked the child inside the house and left. During that time, the child tried to escape but the window and doors were tightly locked as the window had a wooden bar on them.

The child picked up an electronic tablet and learnt Pooran’s name. An hour later, Pooran returned, placed a mattress on the ground and pushed the victim on it after which he raped her.

After the incident, the child went to school and her teacher summoned her parents, during which she said she was raped. The matter was reported to the police and Pooran was arrested.

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