Thu | Apr 18, 2019

Rapist has 40-year sentence slashed

Published:Monday | March 25, 2019 | 12:18 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter

A man who raped a woman three times while holding her hostage inside her home for three terrifying hours has had his 40-year sentence slashed by 16 years.

The Court of Appeal, in a ruling handed down last Friday, ordered that Neville Barnes, 44, should instead serve 23 years and 10 months in prison for the June 2005 attack.

October 2, 2012 – the day the 40-year sentence was imposed – should be regarded as the date Barnes began serving his reduced prison term, the court also ordered.

The ruling provided disturbing details about the attack, during which the victim said Barnes told her: “I know what I am doing is wrong, but is just suh it guh in Jamaica.”

According to court documents, the woman testified during Barnes’ trial that she was awakened by a man entering her bedroom. She said that because her bedside lamp was turned on, she observed that the shirtless man was wearing a pair of navy-blue casual shorts and a pair of briefs drawn “half across his face”.

She gave evidence that her ordeal lasted for three hours and that the man, who she later pointed out to police investigators as Barnes, had sexual intercourse with her three times in different positions without her consent. He assaulted her and stole $3,000 before leaving, she said.

attacker’s demands

The court documents, which cited transcripts of the closed-door trial, revealed that at one point during her ordeal, the woman asked Barnes why he was raping her. “Because I choose you,” she said he responded.

“The applicant (Barnes) commanded her to give him good loving like she gives her boyfriend. He also commanded her to say words to him in effect requesting him to have rough intercourse with her,” the ruling by the appeal court detailed.

“He demanded that she say the words louder when she did not do so loudly enough for him. He also asked her if she wanted him to impregnate her (using less forensic language),” it continued.

Further, the document revealed that Barnes asked the woman if anyone had ever performed oral sex on her and whether she wanted him to do it. “At some point, he also forced, or tried to force, his tongue into her mouth,” the document said.

He was charged with burglary, rape, and indecent assault arising from the attack and, by unanimous verdict, was found guilty of all three offences following a trial in September 2012.

Barnes was sentenced by then High Court judge Marjorie Cole-Smith to 10 years in prison for burglary, 40 years for rape, and three years at hard labour for indecent assault.

However, Barnes, through his attorneys, challenged the convictions and sentences on the grounds that the presiding judge erred in her direction to the jury on the procedural fairness of the identification parade and that the 40-year term for rape was “manifestly excessive”.

The Court of Appeal, in explaining its decision, noted that the length of the victim’s ordeal and the fact that she was raped three times made the lowest starting point of 15 years in prison “inapplicable”. “We find a starting point of 18 years to be appropriate,” the court found.

The three-member panel added a further 15 years, citing the aggravating features of the case, including the trauma endured by the victim and the fact that Barnes had a previous conviction.

“It is not unreasonable to infer that the whole experience must have caused the virtual complainant severe psychological trauma, although not much physical violence was used in this case,” the judges wrote, explaining the proposed sentence of 33 years in prison.

Barnes was credited with the seven years and two months he spent in custody awaiting trial and two years for the fact that there was no physical violence during the attack.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com