From 40 to 25 years: Court reduces jail time for Pastor convicted of rape

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Berbice Pastor, Andrew Hannibal, who is currently serving a 40-year jail sentence for raping an underage girl, had his jail time reduced to 25 years by the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

In 2018, Hannibal was found guilty by a jury of raping a 15-year-old girl between January 29, 2016, and January 31, 2016, in the county of Berbice. The teen was reportedly left in his care for counseling and guidance at his church.

Hannibal contended that the sentence imposed by Justice Sandil Kissoon was excessive. Justice Kissoon, at the sentencing, told Hannibal that he’d be eligible for parole in 30 years.

The pastor, through his attorney Murseline Bacchus, SC, had moved to the Appeal Court, challenging the conviction and severity of his sentence.

The appeal was heard by Chancellor (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal, Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud; the State was represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Natasha Backer.

The Appeal Court affirmed Hannibal’s conviction but reduced his sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole after serving 18 years.  Time in pre-trial custody will be deducted from his sentence.

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