You can call it courageous, forgiveness or see it for what it is. This human nature at best.
THE DESIRE to have her father walk her down the aisle at her wedding will not be a reality for a woman who was indecently assaulted by him when she was eight and ten years old.
The woman said she had forgiven her father and asked that he be spared jail.
“My biggest fear is in the day of my wedding my father will not be there to give me away. I pray that when November comes he will be there,” she said as she read from a document during the sentencing on Friday.
The 25-year-old said her peace came after he told her father told her he was sorry during her visit with him at the prison on July 10. This was after he was found guilty of three charges of indecently assaulting back in 2004 and 2006. He was found not guilty of incest.
She also told of the “cherished” relationship her son had with his grandfather. Following his incarceration after being found guilty, she has told her son that this grandfather has gone to work in a foreign country. To prevent any disappointment to her son, she bought a gift and a card to give him at his eighth birthday last Sunday and told him it was from his granddad.
She said her son left cake and ice-cream for his grandpa with whom he would spend time. “My dad is a hero in his eyes ... I don’t want to see my father taken away from me and my son. I forgive my father, I love my father. All I really want is for my dad to be at my side, giving me away.”
The prisoner also addressed the court saying that he accepted his actions were wrong. He said he missed his grandson.
State attorneys Stacy Laloo-Chong and Josanne Forrester asked that the man be sentenced to one to three years in prison.
Defense attorney Renuka Rambajhan, however, asked that the victim’s request be granted as she petitioned the court for a non-custodial sentence for her client. She said there was room for healing and growth in the relationship between the father and daughter.
She said that if a jail term was being considered that the court starts with one year and consider the remorse, the views of the victim and that he is not a threat to society and was willing to continue to build a relationship with his daughter and allow him to walk his daughter down the aisle.
The judge, however, reminded that it was sentencing of a man who had touched the breast of his daughter when she was eight years and in standard four and again when she was ten years. The man also touched her breast a third time and rubbed his genitals on hers, when she was ten years old. She said that he had breached their relationship in a house where she lived with him and her three brothers.
We have to send a very strong message of deterrence to others in society that there are daughters, girls in context with this matter who are in positions of extreme vulnerability.
She told the woman that while she was angry at her mother and the officer who charged her father, the only person she should blame was with her father.
She encouraged the woman to get some aggressive and robust counseling.
She told the woman she was neither punishing her nor telling her to put her life on hold and suggested that she have a civil ceremony and delay the flair of having her father walk down the aisle until he is able to do so.
The judge started with three years and after considering the aggravating and mitigating factors of the offender, this was reduced to two years.
She sentenced the man to one year on the offenses of touching the girl’s breast and two years for the third offense. The 36 days he spent in custody will be deducted. The sentences are to run concurrently, therefore, the man will serve one year and 11 months in prison.
She apologized to the victim at the age of her case and that she had to relive the incident and reopen wounds I apologize and promised that she and her colleagues were doing everything they can do in co-operation with stakeholders attend to matters as efficiently. She encouraged the criminal justice system to give priority matter like these. “When you cause a victim to enter the witness box after a period of many years, the system itself re-victimizes by reopening some of the wounds that the (passage) of time itself has allowed some healing ... We have to move trials quicker in that respect and we are working on it.”
She told her that the sentence does not prevent her from loving her father and asked her to continue to do such.