A 62-YEAR-OLD Morvant man has been jailed for the grievous sexual assault of a six-year-old in 2012.
However, Gerard Dowers will only have nine months and 20 days more to serve after he received a discount for his guilty plea and the six years, ten months and ten days he spent in prison awaiting sentence were deducted.
Dowers was before Justice Gail Gonzales at the Port of Spain High Court charged with the offence which took place sometime between January 3 and 14, 2012, at the girl’s mother’s home. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Wednesday.
The prisoner was in a relationship with the child’s mother and the incident took place while the mother was in hospital. The judge said he committed the offence six months after he was released from prison grievous sexual assault and indecent assault on a minor.
It was for this reason, Gonzales increased his sentence by a year. He did receive a downward adjustment for not re-offending after he was released on bail.
Gonzales also ordered the prisoner to register as a sex offender every three months for 18 months upon his release from prison.
His name has also been ordered to be published on the national sex offenders’ registry since according to the judge, “children need to be protected and parents must know who are living in their communities.”
According to the evidence, Dowers took off the child’s clothing and forced her to perform oral sex. He then assaulted her with his finger and committed other indecent acts.
After pleading guilty, a probation officer’s report and psychological assessment were ordered by the court. In one of the reports, several of his acquaintances said he was hard-working and respectful and they all doubted he would have committed the offence since he maintained his innocence.
Questioned about this in light of his guilty plea, he said he was embarrassed by his past actions which he did not want to admit to friends and family.
The psychological assessment said he was of sound mind with no mental health issues that could affect any sentence the court imposed.
Neither the girl nor her mother chose to be a part of the sentencing process. In sentencing Dowers, the judge said while the maximum sentence for grievous sexual assault on a minor was imprisonment for life, she could not send him to jail for the rest of his natural life to die there.
She did consider the aggravating factors of the offence were that the victim was an infant and the prisoner’s action was a breach of trust since the girl’s mother was hospitalised when it took place.
Gonzales then applied the sentencing methodology set out by the Court of Appeal making the necessary adjustments and deducting his time spent while crediting his guilty plea.
The prisoner was represented by attorney Josiah Soo Hon while prosecutor Taterani Seecharan represented the State.