A High Court will decide on July 28 the sentence to impose on a 17-year-old boy who was found guilty Friday of raping, buggering, and strangling to death a nine-year-old girl in 2018.
The six-member jury handed down the guilty on all three counts of rape, buggery and murder at the Westmoreland Circuit Court after deliberating for just over two and a half hours.
Justice Courtney Daye said research will have to be done to determine the approach to take in sentencing the accused, noting “for sure the law says you can’t give a child a death sentence”.
The court heard that the boy, who was 13 at the time of the incident, sexually assaulted and killed the young girl, whom he knew, after she accepted his invitation to pick apples as they walked home from school on June 5, 2018.
Her body was found near a guava tree and according to the post-mortem report presented in court last week, the child died of asphyxia caused by manual strangulation. She also had lacerations of the vagina and anus.
During the trial, the head of the DNA unit at the Government’s Institute of Forensic Science and Legal Medicine provided forensic evidence that material found in the anus of the schoolgirl matched the DNA of the teen.
But the defence lawyers had argued that the teen was innocent and that the police had failed to properly investigate the case to bring to justice the appropriate perpetrators.
In an unsworn statement, the teen admitted that he had sexual intercourse with the girl in her vagina and not her anus.
He said that he was forced to do so after he was held up by two men, one carrying a machete and the other a gun. He also told the court that he knew one of the men.