CCJ reduces prison sentence of convicted rapist in brutal Soesdyke case

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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday reduced the 23-year jail sentence of convicted rapist Calvin Ramcharran to a term of 12 years.

In 2015, a 12-member jury found Ramcharran guilty for the rape and brutal assault that was committed on an adult female during a party at Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara on July 22, 2012.

The first charge stated that on July 22, 2012, Ramcharran engaged in sexual penetration of an adult female without her consent. The second charge is that on the same date, he assaulted the young woman, causing her actual bodily harm.

Trial judge, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, sentenced him to serve 23 years for the rape and three years for the assault charge.

Last year, Guyana’s Court of Appeal (CoA) dismissed an appeal filed by Ramcharran, who was seeking to overturn his conviction and challenge the security of sentence for the rape and assault of a woman.

Dissatisfied, Ramcharran with the aid of his attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes moved to the CCJ. However, the CCJ only allowed Ramcharran to appeal his sentence and not his conviction.

Presiding over the appeal at the Trinidad-based CCJ were Justices Maureen Rajnauth-Lee, Winston Anderson, Andrew Burgess, Peter Jamadar and Denys Barrow.

The CCJ ruled the sentence for rape was manifestly excessive and Justice Barlow failed to hold a separate sentencing hearing to take a victim impact statement and also failed to give reasons for and indicate the process used to arrive at the sentence.

According to the CCJ, because Justice Barlow gave no reasons, the Court of Appeal could only infer what the trial judge considered in arriving at the sentences imposed.

The CCJ found that the Court of Appeal, in reviewing the trial judge’s sentence, erred in failing to follow the comprehensive guidelines for trial judges in rape cases, in its earlier decision of Linton Pompey vs the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Based on the finding, the CCJ said it has the jurisdiction to review the sentences. The court imposed a sentence of 12 years imprisonment onto Ramcharran for rape.

In respect to the sentence for assault causing actual bodily harm, the sentence of three years is to be served concurrently. As such, it will be affirmed to stand for its demonstrative and deterrent effect.

According to reports, on July 22, 2012, the victim left her friends to go and urinate during which Ramcharran followed her and asked if she was “doing business”.

The woman responded in the negative after which Ramcharran struck her in the head with a bottle, dragged her to the back of a building, and raped her.

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