A 44-year-old minibus driver, was, on Friday, sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on two counts of rape committed on a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
Inteaz Mohamed, called “Uncle Shameer” of Success, East Coast Demerara, was sentenced by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the Sexual Offences Court of the Demerara High Court. Last month, a 12-member jury found Mohamed guilty of engaging in sexual penetration with the victim during September 2014 and January 2015.
The state was represented by prosecutors Sarah Martin and Nafeeza Baig, while Mohamed’s attorney was Latchmie Rahamat.
Mohamed, in his statement to the probation officer which was presented to the court on Friday, maintained that he is innocent of the charge.
In his brief statement he said, “I would begin with asking this court to be lenient on me and to have mercy on me. I have been accused wrongfully.”
The victim’s impact statement was also read in court by a social worker. “Being raped was the worst and most painful thing I ever experienced. I felt scared, helpless and traumatized…He [Mohamed] was a monster to me. I was depressed dealing with the painful memories by myself. It was difficult. I felt like my body wasn’t mine anymore, having something taken away from me with force is the worst feeling,” she said.
She added: “I was living in fear every day. Fear took over me. Many nights I cried myself to sleep. Inteaz continued to harass me. He being in front of me every day was torture to deal with.”
In her statement, the victim said after Mohamed’s conviction in June, she was tormented by his relatives on social media who are trying to tarnish her character. According to the victim, Mohamed’s relatives are circulating her photograph and even went as far as contacting her workmates.
“I am traumatized all over again. I am emotionally stressed and I am scared to go to work because every day I’m being bullied…there is no end to my problem and his [Mohamed] family will continue to destroy my character,” she added.
The social worker told the court that these allegations are currently under investigation by the police. Justice Reynolds while addressing the “barbaric” manner in which the crime was committed, said that “the courts must send a message to those who may be harbouring such beastly thoughts.”
With the numerous sexual cases involving minibus and taxi drivers before the courts, the judge highlighted the trend of these operators who continue to consider schoolgirls as “theirs for the taking”.
“Bus drivers across the breadth and length of our country, drivers who continue to consider schoolgirls who travel in their busses and cars to go to school as theirs for the taking…Our courts must continue to set its faces against such behaviour” he said.
The judge sentenced Mohamed to 25 years on each count which will run concurrently.
Mohamed in his defence told the court that he is unable to perform sexual activities due to a surgery he did in April 2014 for a hernia.
He stated that he is being framed since the victim’s story was fabricated by her brother.
Mohamed further claimed that he would only transport primary school pupils to school and not students from secondary school like the victim.
According to reports, Mohamed operated a minibus and would transport the victim along with other children to school. He would also pick them up in the evening from lessons. Mohamed is said to be known to the victim and her family. The case against the convict was that during September 2014, he picked up the teen in his motorcar and while taking her home, he took her through a bushy area at Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara and raped her.
Before dropping her home, he threatened to kill the teen if she reported the matter to the police. The victim became afraid and did not report the matter to the police.
In January 2015, Mohamed raped her again.
After this incident, the victim was picked up after lessons by her brother. During this time, Mohamed managed to acquire the teen’s cellphone number and would harass her.
During February 2018, it was said that Mohamed visited the victim’s home and handed her several letters.
Before leaving, he told her not to tell anyone what was written in the letters or else he would shoot her.
The victim, however, confided in her brother about being raped by Mohamed and showed him the letters as evidence.
The matter was reported to the police and Mohamed was arrested.