“Whoever took his life has to pay and they will pay very soon.”
Those were the words of a man said to be like a grandfather to nine-year-old Cyon Paul during his funeral yesterday.
A High Court judge had to defer sentencing yesterday of three brothers convicted of raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl after two of their lawyers tried to withdraw from the case. Ravi, Anand and Mohan Singh, of Todd’s Road, Chaguanas, were due to be sentenced by Justice Althea Alexis Windsor in the Port-of-Spain Sixth Criminal Court yesterday afternoon. However, the case was adjourned shortly after it began because of issues with their lawyers.
The brothers were convicted last week of having sex with a minor under the age of 14. Two of them also were found guilty of committing grievous sexual assault on the child. Ravi, a former truck driver and a tassa instructor, is wheelchair-bound. He was paralysed after falling from a tree several years after the 2005 assaults. His brothers are construction workers.
When the case was called yesterday, Joseph Honore, who represented Anand in the trial before Alexis-Windsor, said his client did not wish him to continue in the case and already had hired a replacement. Alexis-Windsor did not accept his statement. She said Honore was required to apply to her for permission to withdraw before he could hand over the case to his replacement. “It is too late now. This will cause prejudice to your client and will cause an inordinate delay in the sentencing in this case,” Alexis-Windsor said.
She told him the impromptu formal application he made after her initial comments was denied so he had to continue to represent Anand. Honore then said Mohan also wished to change his attorney, Don Waithe, who was not in court yesterday. Alexis-Windsor did not appear to be satisfied with his non-attendance and also said she would not be willing to approve Waithe’s move to withdraw.
Unlike his colleagues, attorney Llewelyn Thompson, who was retained by the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority to represent Ravi, said he would continue to do so but needed additional time to prepare his mitigation plea. Before adjourning the case to next week Friday, Alexis-Windsor warned the two lawyers she expected them to be present and be prepared to complete the sentencing at the next hearing or they would face “certain consequences.”
The sexual assaults took place between August and December 2005 while the victim was in Form One. The brothers were charged with assaulting the girl on different days during that period. They did not take part in the assaults together but all occurred at the child’s home when her parents and four younger siblings were out. The brothers were arrested on January 1, 2006 after the girl reported the incident to her father. Maria Lyons prosecuted.