The Court of Appeal on Monday upheld the consecutive 5-year and 9 months sentences handed down on former Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church elder, Terry Noel for crimes committed between January to
August 2009 and August to December 2010 to a church member.
Noel, who was 36 years old at the time of his conviction last year, was sentenced to 5 years and 9 months on each of the 2 counts of rape against his accuser.
Guyana-born female high court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford dealt with the matter in June 2016 at the No. 2 High Court in St. George’s.
A mixed jury returned a guilty verdict on Noel who is currently serving his time at the Richmond Hill prison.
The convicted man, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law, Neisha John during his trial, retained the services of barrister-at-law, Derrick Sylvester to appeal the sentence before the Court of Appeal Justices.
The Court of Appeal, which was presided over by Chief Justice Dame Janice Pereira, Justices of Appeal Gertel Thom and Mario Michel heard the appeal on Monday, upholding both the convictions and sentences that were handed down on Noel in the lower court.
Noel was described as a Building Contractor by profession and had served as an elder of the Soubise SDA Church, the same church that was attended by the victim.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the woman was at first very reluctant to report the alleged rape to the police because she was uncertain that anyone would believe her due to the marital status and rank in the Church of the perpetrator.
This newspaper was told that the hierarchy of the Adventist church took certain punitive action against the victim after the matter came out in the public domain.
A church insider told this newspaper that the Management Board of the church met and decided to bar the woman from partaking in some of its activities.
In addition, some church members who were considered as pro-Noel supporters were accused of meeting the woman and constantly uttering degrading comments and accusing her of trying to spoil the character of the convicted man.