A man who claims to be a devoted Catholic Church member was handed a life sentence with possibility of parole after 35 years, after he was found guilty on two counts of rape committed on a child under the age of 16.
Michael Abrams, who is said to be in his late 40s, showed no remorse whatsoever after a mixed 12-member jury returned unanimous verdicts on both counts yesterday at the High Court in Georgetown.
In fact, Abrams, who was represented by Attorney-at-law, Chandrawattie Persaud, maintained that he was innocent. He told the court that there is no way he could have committed the act nor would he have ever committed such an offence.
“I will maintain this now and forever,” Abrams told the court.
One charge before Abrams stated that between January 1, 2013 and January 19, 2013, he engaged in sexual penetration with the girl who was six years old at the time.
The other charge stated that between January 2 and January 19, 2015, he engaged in sexual penetration with the girl who was eight years old.
Kaieteur News understands that on both occasions Abrams had anal sex with the child and inserted his fingers in her vagina.
Trial Judge, Simone Morris-Ramlall sentenced Abrams to life imprisonment on both counts.
In arriving at the custodial sentence, Justice Morris-Ramlall reminded Abrams that although he testified to loving the child, and that the child trusted him, he treated her like a beast by sodomising her.
The judge advised him to pray to God for forgiveness. Justice Morris-Ramlall also took into consideration the nature of the offences and the circumstances under which they were committed.
In a plea of mitigation, Attorney Persaud related that her client had been in charge of the church’s choir. She related that he has interacted with numerous persons and his integrity has never been impeached at any stage.
The case for the state was presented by Prosecutors Seeta Bishundial and Narissa Leander.
Prosecutor Bishundial asked for the maximum penalty to be imposed.
According to Prosecutor Bishundial, Abrams used his position to hurt the child in the worst possible way. She added that the act of Abrams has shattered the child’s innocence and it is something she would have to live with for the rest of her life.
The Prosecutor said, “He (Abrams) still maintains he is a man of good character despite his peers (the jury) finding this is not true.” She added that Abrams presumptuousness goes to show that you can see the face of a man, but you cannot see his heart.
Meanwhile, Kaiesha Perry, Project Coordinator and Court Support Person at Child Link, testified to lending support to the child and preparing her for testifying in court.
Perry said that the child was referred to the organisation by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Perry read aloud a missive, through which the child expressed her views about the matter.
According to Perry, the child said that the situation makes her feel bad. Perry said that the child related that after reporting the matter, she felt as though Abrams would try to hurt her more.
“I am glad the accused (Abrams) would never get to do what he did to me or do it to any other person because it is wrong,” Perry told the court the child said.
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