On Wednesday, the Guyana Court of Appeal upheld a pastor’s conviction for raping a minor but decreased his sentence.
In 2016 a court convicted Berbice pastor Andrew Hannibale of raping a 15-year-old girl.
But local media reported that the Appeal Court lowered his sentence from 40 years to 25 when he claimed it was excessive.
Yonette Cummings-Edwards, acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, who presided over the court’s proceedings with Justices Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, told the defendant that in addition to his reduced 25-year sentence, he must serve 18 years before being eligible for parole.
Investigators had charged Hannibale with rape committed in the County of Berbice during the latter part of January 2016.
According to the facts, the virtual complainant’s sibling awoke and found that the 15-year-old was not in her bed.
The teenager, a member of Hannibale’s church, later acknowledged that she was with the pastor.
And a doctor who evaluated her found evidence of sexual abuse.
Shortly before his original sentencing, the accused pastor said he was sorry for his actions.
” I want to say to the victim and family how sorry I am. I know you are hurt. I pray you forgive me, as you go on with your life,” local media quoted him as saying.
“I will abide by the jury decision. All I ask for is leniency, so I can serve the time and resume back to society as a brand new man,” Hannibale told the court.