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No bail for rape accused

By AZARD ALI Friday, February 7 2014

A MAN charged with raping a 12-year-old girl who, according to police investigations, is five months pregnant, yesterday appeared in the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court, and was refused bail.

Richard Mohammed, 23, appeared before senior magistrate Debra Quintyne, and was locked into the iron-caged dock in the courtroom before the case was called by the magistrate.

Mohammed was arrested at about 6 pm on Wednesday at his home in St Croix Village, near Princes Town, and taken to the Princes Town Police Station. He was charged with one count of raping the girl. Another count of committing a grievous sexual act on her, was also laid against Mohammed.

The girl, whom police investigators said is 12 years of age, is a pupil of a primary school, and is due to write the Secondary Assessment Examination in May. The girl was not brought to court yesterday for the case. However, several male and female relatives of the accused Mohammed were seated in the courtroom. At about 11 am, Mohammed’s name was called by Quintyne and police officers, two members of whom are from the Southern Task Force, unlocked the docks and the accused man stepped out. He stood before Quintyne wearing a white T-shirt.

The senior magistrate read the first charge that between September 9, and 10 last, Mohammed had sexual intercourse with the girl. The second charge alleged that on July 1, and July 31, he committed a grievous sexual act on the girl.

The magistrate named the location, as stated in the charge, where the girl was allegedly raped, and the sexual assault committed on her.

The charges against Mohammed stemmed from investigations by police officers last week, that the girl was raped.

However, recently she became ill and her relatives took her to a medical doctor. It was discovered that she is five months pregnant. A report was made to the Princes Town Police Station about the girl’s condition and investigations led police officers to arrest a man at his home.

The charges were laid indictably by WPC Lal Maharaj, whom the court heard yesterday was pregnant and was unavailable to attend the court case hearing.

Attorney Russell Pena told Quintyne in making an application for bail for Mohammed, that the accused has a fixed place of abode at No 53 St Croix Road, Princes Town, and he has no criminal record. Immediately after the attorney said that, Quintyne asked, “How old is the victim. I want to know how old is the victim.” The court’s police prosecutor, Sgt Krishna Bedassie, said that woman police officer Lal Maharaj, was in an advanced state of pregnancy and could not make it to the hearing to furnish the details about the victim.

Bedassie objected to bail and submitted to the magistrate that under Section Six (2) (d) of the Bail Act, if the court is not satisfied that an accused has not been adequately traced to determine his or her criminal record, bail could be refused.

He further submitted that having regard to the nature and seriousness of the offence, under Section Two (d) of the Act, bail should be refused. Quintyne said Mohammed’s background and the proximity of his residence to the victim, were pertinent factors in determining whether the accused should be freed on bail. The magistrate refused Mohammed bail and remanded him into custody to reappear on February 13. She, however, informed the accused that he was entitled to apply to a judge in Chambers for bail.

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