|90 YEARS FOR TORTURE |
By AZARD ALI Thursday, January 7 2016
IN SENTENCING a man to 90 years imprisonment, High Court Judge, Justice Carla Brown-Antoine yesterday described as “the most heinous crime” she had ever seen as a lawyer and judge, the kidnap and robbery of a couple at a beach in South Trinidad and the subsequent rape and torture of the woman by two men 12 years ago.
In 2003, Darren Samuel, 32, and Marlon Gregory John, 34, both of Quinam, kidnapped a girl and her boyfriend at gunpoint, took them into the Quinam forest where she was raped and robbed. Yesterday, Samuel was sentenced in the San Fernando High Court to 20 years for kidnapping the girl; 20 years for false imprisonment; ten years for robbery; ten years for possession of a gun; ten years for possession of ammunition; ten years for possession of a gun to endanger life and ten years for possession of ammunition to endanger life.
In passing sentence on Samuel, who went on trial last December and was found guilty by a jury for several offences, except rape, Brown-Antoine recounted the harrowing incident the couple endured on Saturday July 26, 2003, at about 1 pm at the Quinam Beach. Brown-Antoine said the boyfriend and girlfriend, at the time in their 20s, had gone to the beach to lime and eat.
But the sheds on the beach-front were occupied.
In fact, seated under one of the sheds were the two accused men Samuel and John. The couple were forced to resort to sitting on a log in a more secluded part of the beach where they ate together.
Suddenly, John and Samuel confronted the couple with a gun and a cutlass. They were then marched into a forested area where the girl was raped.
Browne-Antoine said the boyfriend was eventually sent out of the forest by the two accused men to get money from his car and bring it back to the men who had his girlfriend hostage.
The male victim never returned to the forest and instead raised an alarm which resulted in people on the beach going into the forest in search of the woman. Eventually, a police aerial search was mounted for the female victim.
Brown-Antoine said the girlfriend underwent a six-hour ordeal inside the forest, during which she was raped, sexually abused and tortured.
In 2007, John was tried and found guilty of kidnapping, rape, robbery, sexual assault and possession of a firearm and was sentenced by Justice Rajendra Narine to a total of 191 years in jail.
Narine, said this was the worst case of rape and torture he had ever come across in his career as a judge.
The sentences were ordered to run concurrently with the 25 years jail term for rape.
John was also ordered to receive 25 strokes, but he appealed.
Justices Paula Mae Weeks, Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Mark Mohammed added five more years to the 25 and ordered John to serve 30 years.
Samuel was not tried together with John because he had absconded and police had to re-arrest him.
In December last year, Samuel went on trial before Browne-Antoine and a nine-member jury in which State Attorney Shabaana Shah called 18 witnesses. The jury found him guilty of all the charges, but not guilty of rape.
Attorney Kerianne Byer defended Samuel.
Yesterday, the boyfriend and girlfriend were seated in court as Browne-Antoine gave her sentencing against Samuel in which the judge ordered that the sentences were to run concurently. Samuel, therefore, will begin serving 20 years from yesterday.
Brown-Antoine said she agreed with the comment of Narine that this was indeed the worst case of rape and torture she came across in her judicial career.
Additionally, the judge ordered that the three years, plus 14 months and 25 days during which Samuel was incarcerated, be deducted from the 20- year jail term. Samuel therefore will serve approximately 15 years in jail for the crimes.