A 53-YEAR-OLD man from South Trinidad was yesterday jailed for a total of 59 years with hard labour for raping a girl who was below the age of 14. Narine Ragoonanan, a market vendor, was sentenced in the San Fernando High Court at about 1.30 pm by Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas.
Ragoonanan was found guilty last October by a jury on two counts of grievous sexual assault which occurred in 2008 and 2009. At the time of the first assault, the victim was nine and mentally challenged.
The judge sentenced Ragoonanan to 23 years and seven months on each count. He was also charged with raping the girl in 2013 when she was 15 and later became pregnant. After the trial of the grievous sexual assault charges in October, Ragoonanan opted last month to plead guilty to the 2013 rape charge. St Clair Douglas sentenced him to 11 years and ten months for that offence.
In passing sentence yesterday, St Clair Douglas told the accused that the girl whom he took advantage off, had learning and physical development challenges. She left primary school when she was in Standard V, the judge said. Her giving evidence at trial last October took place before a jury of nine. This, the judge said, would have been a very embarrassing experience for the victim.
State Attorney Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal led evidence from that girl who is now 19, that on unknown dates between 2008 and 2009, Ragoonanan committed the acts. After the jury’s verdict, Ragoonanan told his attorney Ramesh Deena that he would plead guilty to the rape charge which he committed in 2013.
From that incident, the girl became pregnant and was into her 16th week when her mother reported the matter to the police.
St Clair Douglas adjourned sentencing for the 2005 and 2007 incidents to January to facilitate the accused entering the guilty plea.
St Clair Douglas told Ragoonanan that the court must bear in mind, in determining the sentence, the facts regarding the victim’s mental and physical state of development.
St Clair Douglas ordered Ragoonanan to serve the 23 years and seven months jail sentence on each of the two counts, from October when he was found guilty. On the guilty plea of rape, he sentenced him to 11 years and ten months, the term of this imprisonment to begin from yesterday. As the sentences were ordered to be served concurrently, Ragoonanan will serve 23 years’ imprisonment.