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Judicial CP - January 2008
Nassau Guardian, 25 January 2008
Court of Appeal issues stay of flogging sentence for child rapist
By Artesia Davis
Court of Appeal justices debated yesterday whether a judge exceeded her powers when she sentenced child rapist Andrew Bridgewater to a seven year prison sentence and 10 strokes of the cat-o'-nine tails.
Bridgewater pleaded guilty to the vicious assault that left the six-year-old girl in hospital for three weeks. His lawyer, Wayne Watson, has appealed the flogging order on the grounds that it amounts to cruel and inhumane punishment.
The appellate tribunal, which is made up of Court President Dame Joan Sawyer and Justices of Appeal Emmanuel Osadebay and Milton Ganpatsingh, were annoyed that Watson did not present any case law to advance his argument.
Dame Joan said, "You don't come into this court unprepared. I think you should take your seat."
Justice of Appeal Osadebay compared Watson to a fisherman who intended to catch snappers but could not cope when he caught a grouper.
However, the court pointed out that seven years is the maximum sentence for a first conviction of sexual assault. And they pointed out that to impose additional punishment would go beyond the maximum sentence.
The Crown had initially filed a cross-appeal in an attempt to have the sentence increased. But Bernard Turner, the director of public prosecutions, withdrew the appeal.
It was also noted that historically corporal punishment was only imposed for crimes against property, such as burglary and armed robbery. Dame Joan said persons convicted of crimes as serious as murder and manslaughter were not subjected to corporal punishment. She said the court must consider Bridgewater's rights in addition to those of the child.
The Court expects to give a written decision in the matter soon. The Court issued a stay of the flogging order until the decision is delivered.
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