Pentecostal pastor convicted for having sex with minor

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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PENTECOSTAL Pastor R V Paul Hanniford was yesterday convicted for having sexual intercourse with a minor, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, (ODPP) stated in a news release.

A seven-member jury, which was unanimous in its guilty verdict, deliberated for an hour and 20 minutes after instructions were given by Justice Lorna Shelly-Williams.


According to the ODPP, the court was told that the minor, who was 13 years old at the time the offence was committed, was a member of the Pentecostal City Mission Church and was baptised by Hanniford.


The ODPP said the complainant, who is now 15 years old, testified in court that on March 12, 2015, she and her five-year-old brother went to the church for choir practice and after the rehearsal they asked Pastor Hanniford for a drive out in his van. The pastor, the release said, took the children to his house in Kingston and all three went inside the house.


"The pastor gave the five-year-old some cornflakes to eat. The complainant requested the use of the bathroom and while there in the bathroom the pastor entered. The complainant was pushed by the pastor outside the bathroom onto a bed that was inside a nearby bedroom and sexually assaulted her," the ODPP said.


Prosecutors led evidence that the complainant managed to push the pastor off and went outside of the bedroom where her brother was.


The court was told that her cries of "help help" were overheard by her brother, who had climbed onto a chair and peeped through a hole in the door and observed Pastor Hanniford sexually assaulting his sister which made him feel "sad".


According to the evidence presented to the court, after the complainant managed to leave the room, on rejoining her brother, the pastor gave them some cornflakes to eat and later warned the complainant not to tell anyone as it was their "secret".


Later Pastor Hanniford, the court heard, took the complainant and her brother back to the church where the mother of the children met them. The complainant’s brother made a report to his mother in the presence of the pastor about what he had seen.


The following day a meeting was convened at the church with the bishop, the pastor, the complainant, her brother and the children’s parents. On April 14, 2015, a report was made to the police and the pastor was arrested. He was subsequently charged and when he was cautioned he made no statement.


In his defence at the trial, the pastor denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant and said that he had given the children a drive out but not on the day in question.


The Crown was represented by Natallie Malcolm, crown counsel, while Hanniford was represented by attorneys Lynden Wellesley, Evan Evans and Gillian Jones.


The pastor will be sentenced on February 24.


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