JAIL sentences totalling 22 years were handed down in the San Fernando High Court yesterday on a rapist and another man for committing a grievous sexual act on a girl.
Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas ordered Mukesh “Legs” Ganpat, 48, of south Trinidad, to serve 14 years and six months with hard labour for raping the girl 14 years ago. She was 18 years old.
In June, Ganpat was found guilty by a jury and since, there had been legal submissions to the judge on sentencing. The last hearing was on October 26 during mitigation, when St Clair-Douglas drew the court’s attention to a woman related to Ganpat, who sent him (judge) a friend request on his facebook page.
The girl had testified that at about 7 pm on June 30, 2004, she was standing on the Princes Town taxi-stand waiting for transport to go home. Ganpat, whom she knew, offered her a ride home. Instead, the girl told the jury of nine members, he took her to a house where he raped her.
She went to the Princes Town Health Centre and reported the matter to a nurse. Senior State attorney Trevor Jones, prosecuted.
In passing sentence yesterday, St Clair-Douglas told Ganpat that he breached the girl’s trust when he bought her an alcoholic drink which she refused. “You used trickery and ruse to get the girl into the car,” the judge commented. He, however, noted that Ganpat was 34 years old at the time and back then, he had a clean criminal record. A starting point of 15 years was applied by St Clair-Douglas as the maximum sentence.
The judge deducted six months for good character and ordered Ganpat to serve 14 years and six months from his date of conviction by the jury in June.
St Clair-Douglas then sentenced Deoraj Ramcharan, 60, to seven years and six months for committing a sexual act on a girl 16 years ago. In June, a nine-member jury found him guilty. The girl was age 18 and was the mother of a six-month-old baby.
She testified that she had retired to bed after celebrating Ramcharan’s wedding anniversary on September 20, 2002. She woke up to see him on top of her.
In sentencing Ramcharan, St Clair-Douglas told him that he caused the victim shame and distress.