A Providence, St. David man, Roland Charles, is facing a maximum sentence of 105 years imprisonment after he was found guilty Monday on three (3) counts of rape against his ex-lover, the now deceased Larry-Ann John.
The case against Charles was heard by a 9-member jury and lasted 9 days before the No. 2 High Court in St. George’s.
The jury returned the unanimous guilty verdict on all three counts of rape on Monday afternoon, having deliberated on the evidence in the case for just over 2 hours.
The victim, who was 19 years old at the time, alleged that the chain of events occurred on October 19, 2013, at different locations in her home village of Coals Gap in St. David.
At the beginning of the trial on November 20, defense counsel Anselm Clouden had failed in an attempt to get the court to dismiss the proceedings against the now convicted man, based on certain preliminary issues, relating to the April 2017 death of the virtual complainant, who he insisted would not be available for proper examination before the court.
The court ruled in favour of the State, led by Crown Counsel Brandon La Touché, who rebutted by referring to section 198 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides for the trial to proceed by way of deposition.
Having read in the statement of the now deceased rape victim, the Crown then proceeded to call 4 other witnesses to give evidence against Charles.
Citing alibi, however, Attorney Clouden did not succeed with his attempt to convince the jury that Charles could not have committed the crime, as he was hanging with some friends at a neighbourhood shop when the rape incidents reportedly occurred.
At the end of the Crown’s case, the experienced defense counsel, who did not call any witnesses on his client’s behalf, proceeded to make a ‘no case submission’ but it was dismissed by the court.
In an unsworn statement from the dock, the accused continued to maintain his innocence of rape based on his alibi presented to ther court.
Charles admitted that he and the victim were involved in a sexual relationship, which he was trying to keep secret just between the two of them but sometime in June 2013, he had pulled out of the relationship out of embarrassment due to the degrading things he was hearing about the now deceased woman.
He also asked the jury to treat him with fairness but expressed no remorse over the turn of events.
Charles, who faces a maximum sentence of 35 years on each count of rape under the revised 2012 Criminal Code, is scheduled for sentencing before trial Judge, Guyanese-born Madam Justice Paula Gilford on January 17, 2018.