MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS after he was accused of the rape of a child, Victoria resident Curtis Baptiste will stand trial in the Criminal Assizes of Grenada which opened Tuesday in St George’s.
Baptiste, who is now seventy-five years old, was accused of raping a thirteen year-old girl and criminal proceedings had been initiated against him as far back as January, 2011.
However the matter had been dismissed by former Magistrate Jerry Seales, before all witnesses in the case had been heard in the Preliminary Inquiry.
The decision was appealed and in 2013 the Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Nelson received a favourable ruling following Judicial Review.
The Justices ruled in 2017 that Seales had an obligation to hear all the evidence in the PI before rendering a decision on whether to dismiss the case or commit Baptiste to stand trial in the High Court for rape.
State Prosecutors are relying on the evidence of a key witness who claimed to have seen Baptiste in the act of committing the alleged rape of the minor.
The trial of Baptist comes at a time when new sentencing guidelines are being introduced that would see mandatory jail time for offenses such as rape and defilement of a female.
The new guidelines, crafted by the Supreme Court are expected to come into effect by June and they may be in force by the time Baptiste faces a Jury of his peers.
The senior citizen could face more than a decade in prison if found guilty.
Earlier this week DPP Christopher Nelson was delighted that after seven years they will now be an opportunity to bring Baptiste to justice.
The self-styled businessman had gained national prominence due to his involvement in the first poultry project in Bon Jour, St Mark.
The Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government had injected millions into the project that failed to get off the ground.