Jury finds North West businessman not guilty of raping girl, 12

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A 30-year-old North West District businessman walked out of the Demerara High Court a free man after a jury acquitted him of raping a 12-year-old girl in 2018.

Stephen Belle of Water Front, Port Kaituma was on trial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow; he was acquitted after the jury unanimously returned with a not-guilty verdict.

Upon hearing the verdict, Belle broke down in tears, declaring that mothers and fathers should protect their children

According to the victim’s testimony, on July 14, 2018, she encountered Belle at 5am while she was out for a run.

Allegedly, Belle offered her an ‘XL’ energy drink, which she accepted.

The prosecution’s case claimed that Belle took the girl to his residence after giving her the drink and made unwarranted sexual advances toward her.

He allegedly forced her onto his bed and engaged in sexual intercourse against her will.

However, in his defence, Belle provided a caution statement, admitting that the victim had visited his house. He asserted that he left her there to find her mother, considering the odd hour for a young person to be on the road alone.

He was represented by attorney-at-law Teriq Mohammed.

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