Musician found not guilty of rape; to be retried on other charges
DUNCANS, Trelawny — After three rounds of deliberations amounting to one hour and 45 minutes, jurors in the Trelawny Circuit Court on Thursday ended with a split verdict that saw a 45-year-old musician being found not guilty of raping his wife’s 16-year-old sister.
However, the vote was so close for the offences of attempted rape and indecent assault that he will have to return to court for a retrial in October.
The man was accused of committing the attacks on July 16, 2022 when the teenager was spending summer holidays at the Trelawny house he shared with her sister.
On Thursday, the seven-member panel of jurors voted 6-1 to free the man on both counts of rape and grievous sexual assault, but on the offences of attempted rape and indecent assault, they were hung at 4-3.
Presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes explained that the 4-3 vote was not within the acceptable range and set a retrial for the offences of attempted rape and indecent assault. The matter will once again be before the Trelawny Circuit Court, at its next session. The musician’s bail was extended until October 27, 2023.
The accused was initially facing one count of rape but a count of grievous sexual assault was added following a successful application for an amendment on Monday.
He was charged for rape after his teenaged sister-in-law accused him of having sex with her against her will early one morning.
The complainant told the court that the incident happened in a downstairs bedroom at her sister’s house.
She said she was in bed watching a movie on her laptop computer when the musician entered the room, strummed his guitar as he serenaded her with two songs. In her sworn evidence, she accused him of joining her on the bed and raping her while his wife and baby slept upstairs.
But in an unsworn statement, the musician said he knocked on the door, the teenager gave him permission to enter and subsequently consented to having sex after “passionate kissing”. He said she assisted in removing the tight underpants and underwear she was wearing at the time.
However, the complainant denied the claim and told the court she was menstruating at the time of the incident.
The man insisted that there was no penetration. He also said she did not ask him to stop.
“I am not a rapist, I have never raped anyone. I think it is important that I did not hold her against her will,” he said.
“If a man is trying to have sex with a woman against her will, one of the first things she would say is, ‘Stop, I am on my period’. She did not say that to me, she did not go upstairs and inform her sister. I am innocent. I don’t know why she is lying but I’m innocent,” he told the court.
Meanwhile, in her testimony, the accused man’s wife said when she came downstairs during the pre-dawn hours she was startled to see her husband in the passage in front of the bedroom where her sister was staying, with a red smudge on the pair of shorts he was wearing.
The arresting officer testified that when asked what happened, the musician told her, “I don’t know what happened. I made a pass at my wife’s sister. I guess I felt weak to the flesh; but I did not penetrate her.”
He is represented by attorney-at-law Donovan Collins.