Yesterday, two men were sentenced to spend 20 and 14 years respectively in prison for raping a 15-year-old girl repeatedly, buggering and indecently assaulting her.
Thirty-six year old Jaranza ‘Potro’ Howe and 26-year-old Kozan ‘Deuce’ Haywood faced the gavel yesterday, after being convicted on November 18 for three counts, one of rape, one of buggery and one of indecent assault.
A jury of seven females and two males found that on July 18, 2014 the two were guilty of tricking the teenage girl into leaving a bar in Clare Valley.
The victim does not live in Clare Valley but was visiting relatives. She was spoken to and offered beer at a bar by the two men while her female cousin danced inside. After tricking her into leaving the bar, rain began falling while they were walking, and the two men led her to a tree next to a house.
Howe pulled her into this house and began assaulting her. From this moment, the men took their turns raping and violating her in several ways. The victim testified about things said while they were doing these things. The comments revealed complete coldness and indifference in the two men. She was crying, she resisted at first, but this was met with aggression, and strangling.
After the long ordeal the men were said to have threatened her, and forced her to take a shower, before taking her back to the bar.
Haywood followed her, threatened her again, and found her the next day to give her the morning after pill.
The victim did not tell anyone until she met her mother days later, and she wasn’t examined until 10 days afterwards. However, even then, bruises were still evident about her private parts.
Attorney Grant Connell, who represented the men, told the court that three persons from the community of Clare Valley were at the court to speak to Haywood’s character.
These persons, a retired teacher, a woman and a Minister of the Gospel, all expressed shock when they heard about the incident.
“Affable, quiet, charming,” described the teacher of Haywood, “respectable” noted the woman, and surprisingly good at praying, according to the Minister of the Gospel.
One resident of the community stood for Howe, and said that he was “affable” “funny” “agreeable” and she assured once you get to know him that “he’s just a big teddy bear.”
The attorney also presented what he believed to be the aggravating and mitigating features of the offences, and why, given certain cases, the court should take a particular path in sentencing.
Justice Brian Cottle noted that the maximum sentence for rape is 30 years in prison, for buggery it is 10, and for indecent assault, two years.
The victim has been greatly traumatized by the incident, as written in her victim impact statement.
“I was constantly in fear for my life, I felt ashamed, used and worthless. Many times I thought of committing suicide,” she said. She actually tried doing this, but someone walked in and stopped her, she stated.
“It is very hard always misjudging people because I do not know who means well for me or who is thinking that I am an easy target for rape, and I do not want to be raped again,” it reads. She lives an isolated, shut in life now, she says.
She cries often about the incident. “I blame myself for going out with my cousin, because I think that if I didn’t, this would not have happened,” the statement reads.
The judge, using guidelines, placed the offence in category two in relation to the harm caused, because there was significant psychological trauma, degradation and humility.
He placed it “firmly” in the “exceptionally serious” category because both offenders were significantly older than her, six and 16 years older, and it was a coordinated scheme.
Therefore, the court had to determine a starting point between 35 and 65 per cent of the maximum sentence. The judge started at 50 per cent of 30 years, 15 years.
The aggravating features, which outweighed the mitigating ones, took this sentence to 17 years.
For Haywood himself, the judge noted “He was the younger offender. He did not play the lead role. He himself did not indecently assault or bugger the complainant but he aided and abetted Howe to do so.”
He also had no previous convictions. His sentence was reduced to 14 years.
For Howe, the judge assessed, “He has a previous conviction for violence. He played a lead role. The offence was carried out in his home. He was far older than the other offender.”
In the absence of any mitigating features, he raised the sentence to 20 years.
For buggery, Howe was sentenced to six years in prison, Haywood was given four years. For the indecent assault Howe will spend 14 months in jail, and Haywood, 11 months. All sentences will run concurrently.