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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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UK man jailed for sexually assaulting boy
A 67-year-old British man who pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting a nine-year-old boy while vacationing in Trinidad has been sentenced to three years and four months in prison. Derek Ide, a former teacher from Southampton, is not expected to complete his sentence in a local prison, as his lawyer Sean Cazabon has signalled his intention to apply for his client to be extradited to the UK to serve the sentence.
“A request will be made to the British High Commission to have him extradited,” Cazabon said in a telephone interview yesterday. In passing sentence, Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor, presiding in the Port-of-Spain Seventh Court, said it should serve as a deterrent to Ide and other potential sexual predators. “Sexual offences against the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, will not be tolerated,” Baboolal-Gafoor said.
Ide was arrested in early May after the child’s father reported the incident to Carenage police. Ide was accused of performing oral sex on April 28 on the child aboard his yacht, which was docked in a boatyard in Chaguaramas. He was initially charged with grievous sexual assault and was not called upon to plead to the charge. In November, after several witnesses had testified in the preliminary inquiry, assistant Director of Public Prosecutions George Busby applied to have the charge amended to the lesser offence of serious indecency.
Because the lesser offence could be tried before a magistrate, Ide elected to have the case heard before Baboolal-Gafoor and was then allowed to enter a guilty plea. In his mitigation plea presented last Friday, Cazabon said his client’s guilty plea showed he was sorry for his actions. “The guilty plea saves valuable judicial time. It shows that he is remorseful and it saved the boy from the trauma of having to give evidence,” Cazabon said.
He admitted that in 1983, his client was convicted in England of a similar offence against a boy but said Ide was willing to participate in therapy and counselling when he was eventually deported. Meanwhile, in a separate case yesterday, a jury found a 45-year-old man guilty of serious indecency against a 16-year-old girl. The nine-member jury in the Port-of-Spain High Court could not come to a unanimous verdict on Rodney St Bernard, a taxi driver from Morvant, even after deliberating for three hours.
Justice Devan Rampersad then accepted a majority verdict, with seven jurors saying they felt St Bernard was guilty and the rest disagreeing. Rampersad sentenced St Bernard to two years and 11 months in prison. On February 11, 2001, St Bernard picked up the victim at the Morvant taxi stand. While on his way to drop her home, he stopped and forced the girl to touch his penis. He then dropped her home.
In sentencing St Bernard, Rampersad said the court needed to protect children and send a strong message to child molesters, as the abuse had long-lasting psychological effects on victims. There was an element of trust placed on you and you took advantage of a young girl,” Rampersad told the taxi driver. St Bernard was represented by Fulton Wilson while Brent Winter prosecuted.
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