From the Courts
December 11, 2009

Vincentian gets six years in St. Lucia


A forty-five-year-old Vincentian man has been sentenced to serve six years at the Bordelais Correctional Facility in St. Lucia, starting on November 23, 2009.{{more}}

The Star newspaper reports that on October 14, 2009, before High Court Justice, Kenneth Benjamin, Samuel Williams was convicted by a jury of his peers of Sexual Intercourse with a Person Under the Age of 12.

Henry Joseph, Williams’ defense attorney, pleaded passionately with the judge for a lesser or modified sentence. He led evidence showing Williams is suffering from a serious ailment and should be shown some leniency. Williams is a Vincentian who is married to a St Lucian. As such, Joseph asked Justice Benjamin to consider repatriating Williams to St Vincent in order to ease the tax payers’ burden. This was one of Joseph’s many compassionate pleas on Williams’ behalf.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Victoria Charles-Clarke, countered Joseph’s points by playing the social responsibility card. What message would be sent to society if this man did not feel the full brunt of the law for the crime he committed?

After hearing the mitigations, Justice Benjamin had many factors to consider before arriving at a decision. In his purview, Justice Benjamin did not give Williams the minimum sentence for this charge, which is eight years under St Lucian law.

During Williams’ trial, the court heard the defendant’s stepdaughter accuse him of having sexual intercourse with her on Sunday February 11, 2007, between 11am and 1pm at their home in Dennery. She was 11 years old at the time. The Virtual Complainant (VC), now 13 years old, timidly relived that day for the jurors.

The VC said on the day in question she was at home with her two sisters and her stepfather as her mother had gone to church. In her testimony the VC said she was playing outside then she went into the house, got a bath towel from the bedroom and then went to shower. She then described what transpired.

According to the VC, after she finished showering, she took her towel and “Mr Samuel rushed against me, placing his left hand over my mouth and his right hand over my breast, forcing me to lie down on the cold concrete floor” in the sewing room. He then took off her towel and threw it on the table in the kitchen. She spoke softly, saying he unzipped his blue jeans pants and then proceeded to have intercourse with her for some five to fifteen minutes. The VC testified she was crying through the entire ordeal, all the while the defendant’s hand was covering her mouth. Her older sister was in the bedroom studying and her younger sister was watching cartoons in the living room. When her mother returned home, the VC revealed what had occurred and her mother then went to confront her husband “behind the house.” Her mother took her to the Dennery Hospital where the VC was examined by Dr Roger Herrell.

Dr Herelle’s evidence indicated that the injuries he observed could have been inflicted between two to six hours before his examination. There were two separate tears to the hymen. There was also fluid in the vagina and a whitish, yellowish fluid was also found present in the vagina.

Williams chose to exercise his right to refuse to take the stand at his trial.