Former Mt. Rush resident, Ernest Campbell, who is in his early 40s, will spend the most part of the next 14 years of his life behind bars at the Richmond Hill Prison after a High Court jury found him guilty of committing sexual offences against his daughter.
The judgment was handed down on Monday afternoon by Trial Judge, Justice Paula Gilford at the No. 2 Supreme Court on The Carenage in St. George’s.
The convicted man, who was represented by attorney-at-law, George Prime was arrested in 2013 and charged with 2 counts of indecent assault and 1 count of incest.
Up to the end of his trial in February, the father of two who is a Mechanical Electrical Engineer by profession resided in the United States with his wife and stepdaughter.
Attorney Prime called to the witness stand Campbell’s wife of the last 4 years, along with one of his former employers, who described himself as a close friend of the family to give testimony on behalf of the convicted man.
The two begged the court for leniency, describing Campbell as a trustworthy, loving, caring family man, who takes pride in being able to provide for his family.
The wife pleaded with the court to take into consideration that her husband made a mistake in trying to save his daughter whom she said at the time was behaving in a very promiscuous manner.
She spoke of the daughter admitting to her that she was already sexually active at the time of the incident.
“I would like the court to consider who my husband (Campbell) is,” Campbell’s wife told the court while expressing the view that the only mistake he made was trying to save his daughter because of her promiscuity. “I would like the court to consider who he is…I don’t believe for one minute that he slept with his daughter…I don’t believe a word of it…that is not my husband,” she said.
According to the witness, the victim’s mother was trying to extort money from her and her husband over the incident.
The court heard evidence that following his arrest, Campbell admitted to touching his daughter inappropriately and indicated that it was in an attempt to teach her to masturbate due to her troubling promiscuous ways.
However; he denied having sexual intercourse with her.
According to the Victim Impact Statement prepared by the Department of Social Services, Campbell’s daughter, who is now 17 years old said, he had threatened to not give her any money for school if she told anyone what he did to her.
In handing down sentence, the Guyanese-born female Justice described Campbell’s actions against his daughter as “reprehensible” pointing out that sexual crime has become more rampant in the country and dominating the criminal assizes in recent years.
Justice Gilford also highlighted the treatment that is meted out in the society to victims of sexual crimes, in that “no one reaches out to victims (of sexual crimes), as a major problem in society.”
She also pointed to the lack of remorse for such incidents and the fact that the perpetrators do not perceive their actions to be wrong, as well as the physical and psychological suffering of the victims.
The judge noted that the victim in the current case was only 13 years old at the time and subjected to sexual perverseness and someone in a position of trust perpetuated the crime.
The only mitigating factor considered was that the convict is a first time offender.
On the two counts of incest, Campbell was sentenced to 2 years and 11 months (for count 1) and 6 years and 11 months (for count 2); while he received a sentence of 10 years and 11 months for the count of incest.
The sentence for the second count of indecent assault (2 years and 11 months) would run concurrent to the 10 years and 11 months sentence handed down for incest and consecutively to the sentence handed down for the first count of indecent assault 6 years and 11 months.
The total sentence amounts to approximately 13 years and 10 months.