From the Courts
November 6, 2012
Byera man sentenced to 43 years in prison for aggravated burglary, rape and wounding

After Jolan Hepburn struck his victim over her head with a Pyrex dish, he had sex with her, using a makeshift condom: a plastic bag.{{more}}

And for his crime, High Court judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle on Thursday slapped a 43-year custodial sentence on the 22 year-old Byera resident, after a nine-member jury found him guilty on three charges after two hours and 47 minutes of deliberations.

Hepburn was charged with aggravated burglary, rape, and wounding.

He was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the rape and aggravated burglary charges respectively, and seven years on the wounding charge.

However, Hepburn will only serve 18 years, as the sentences will run concurrently.

In handing down his sentence, Bruce-Lyle said people like Hepburn needed to be kept away from society.

“I can’t let you back into society. You are a vicious and sick young man,” Bruce-Lyle stated.

The woman, in her 40s, lived alone at the time of the incident, which occurred between April 21 and 22, 2011.

The woman testified that she had secured her home and went to bed that evening, only to be awoken by a noise.

She told the court that she initially did not pay any attention to the noise because she lives close to the main road and is accustomed to hearing lots of noises.

However, she later investigated and when she opened her bedroom, the attacker struck her over the head with a Pyrex dish.

The court heard that the woman stumbled back into the bedroom and lost consciousness for a short time.

The attacker was wearing a cap but the woman said she saw his face and that he was armed with a knife.

She said Hepburn demanded money and she gave him $200.

He then demanded jewellery, but she told him that she only had costume jewellery.

The woman further stated that Hepburn made further demands of her, this time, telling her to take off her clothes.

In her attempts to distract Hepburn, the woman said she told him that she had AIDS and that she had to get a condom.

However, after pretending to search various rooms in the house for a condom, Hepburn got aggressive and threatened to stab her.

After it was discovered that no condom was available, Hepburn asked for a plastic bag, which he used as a condom to have sex with his victim.

He then took her cellular phone and her money.

Police investigations discovered that one of the windows of the house was open, where Hepburn is said to have entered.

Hepburn, who was not represented by a lawyer, said he was innocent and that he was at home with his uncle and his mother during the incident.

He stated that he went to play football that day and returned later about 6 p.m. The following morning, Good Friday, Hepburn said he woke up about 7 a.m., and that he had no clue what the woman was talking about.

His mother and uncle also testified on his behalf, but during cross-examination, inconsistencies were revealed.

Halfway through the trial, Bruce-Lyle, in the jury’s absence, told Hepburn that the evidence against him was overwhelming and that if they found him guilty, he would sentence him “heavily”.

Hepburn, however, maintained his innocence and the matter continued.

The court also heard that Hepburn had a few previous brushes with the law, including stealing and burglary offences.

In 2008, Hepburn was sentenced to three years in jail for burglarising a yacht and stealing money and a cellular phone.

“These offences are more serious than breaking a yacht. Do you realise what you got yourself into? Rape carries a maximum sentence of life…

“I consider this incident as a vicious attack on a lady living by herself. You struck her in the head with a Pyrex dish and had sex with her using a plastic bag … There’s no remorse. You don’t have a care in the world…” the judge said. (KW)