THIRTY-ONE-year-old taxi driver, Sahadeo Pooran, called “Omesh”, on Wednesday sobbed in court after being sentenced to 21 years in prison for raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl in 2019.
Pooran was on trial before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow in the Sexual Offences Court of the Demerara High Court and was, earlier this month, found guilty by a jury for the indictment which read that on September 27, 2019, he engaged in sexual penetration with a child who was under the age of 16.
The State was represented by prosecutors, Sarah Martin and Nafeeza Baig Poorna, while Pooran was represented by Attorney-at-law, Euclin Gomes.
State Prosecutor, Nafeeza Baig, asked the court to consider the prevalence of the offence and the fact that Pooran showed no remorse for his action.
Pooran’s attorney asked the court to temper justice with mercy and to also consider that Pooran is the sole breadwinner for his family.
The attorney also related that Pooran’s wife is currently pregnant.
Sobbing unconsolably, Pooran, during his address to the court, said “I would like to say that I am very sorry. I am an innocent person over this situation. My wife getting a baby for me, and I don’t want this to be my punishment.”
In sentencing, Justice Barlow took into consideration the circumstances, such as the trust the victim’s parents had in Pooran as it relates to the transportation of their children.
The judge also considered the traumatic impact the incident had left on the victim and also the fact that Pooran showed no remorse for his actions.
Justice Barlow then sentenced Pooran to 21 years in prison and ordered that the convict be exposed to counselling for sex offenders.
According to reports, on the day in question, the victim left her home for school around 08:00hrs.
She was standing on the roadway waiting on a taxi to take her to the road head, where she would board a minibus.
Pooran stopped his motor car and offered the girl a drop.
She got into the front passenger seat of the vehicle and Pooran drove off. During the journey, he picked up two other passengers and dropped them off.
Pooran later took the child to his home. He dragged her into the home, locked her inside and left.
The child tried to escape but the windows were barred with pieces of wood.
It was while going through a tablet that she learnt that the name of her attacker was Sahadeo Pooran.
An hour later, Pooran returned. He placed a mattress on the ground, threw the victim onto it and raped her.
When he was finished, he told the child to tell the teacher that she was involved in an accident.
The child was able to escape.
She made her way to her school where she told the lie to the teacher.
However, the teacher contacted her mother. The child subsequently recounted the ordeal. The matter was reported to the police and Pooran was arrested.