Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 12th 2015 Contents A13
Thursday, February 12, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A 32-year-old PH driver was
yesterday sentenced to six years
and nine months in jail for raping
a 13-year-old girl 16 years ago.
Justin Thomas, who was 16
years old at the time of the
offence, pleaded guilty in the San
Fernando First Criminal Court on
His attorney Ainsley Lucky had
asked for a non-custodial sen-
tence, submitting that Thomas
had suffered enough because he
had had this matter hanging over
his head for the past 16 years.
He said Thomas four children,
which he fathered with three dif-
ferent women, were financially
dependent on him.
In passing sentence, however,
Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas
said the incident amounted to rape
because during the victim s evi-
dence it was clear that she did not
want to have sex with him.
However, he said, the girl even-
tually relented and surrendered to
Thomas superior might and per-
The 13-year-old girl, who was
a virgin, sustained significant
injuries, the court heard.
The doctor, he said, found that
the injuries would have been sus-
tained during forceful and violent
Initially, Thomas had pleaded
not guilty to the charge of having
sexual intercourse with a female
under the age of 14.
The State, on January 13, opened
its case and led evidence from the
victim, a justice of the peace and
a police officer.
However, when the matter was
resumed the following day
Thomas changed his plea to guilty.
The evidence led by state attorney
Stacy Laloo-Chong was that
Thomas, then 16, took the girl to
a house where he had sex with
her in a bedroom.
After the crime, the girl returned
to school, but was bleeding pro-
fusely and eventually lost con-
The girl had surgery and spent
four days at the San Fernando
She was a week shy of her 14th
birthday when she was attacked.
Thomas was charged by Sgt
Monsegue, who has since retired
from the police service.
The judge did not give Thomas
the full discount for his guilty plea
since he did not spare the victim
the embarrassment of reliving the
ordeal in front of strangers.
He noted that if Thomas was
found guilty by the jury the appro-
priate sentence would have been
eight years. However, he reduced
it by 15 per cent because of his
Thomas relative who was seat-
ed in court burst into tears and
quickly left the courtroom after
the sentence was announced.
A High Court judge on Tues-
day sentenced four men to a total
of 54 years in jail for murdering
a scrap iron dealer who was
robbed and beaten "mercilessly"
almost nine years ago.
Lauren Aguillera, 43; Shawn
Ballai, 35; Evans Ballai, 26; and
Richie Ayow, 26, pleaded guilty
last July to murder on the basis
of the felony murder rule.
They gave confession state-
ments to the police describing
their involvement in the murder
of Robert "Metal Man" Ramnath.
Ramnath, 51, was found dead
near a pumping jack in Erin on
August 10, 2006.
A post mortem found Ramnath
sustained a massive crush injury
to the head, extensive fractures
to the skull and jaw bone, six lac-
erations and abrasions to the face.
The four admitted that they
had hatched a plan to rob Ram-
nath. The prosecution s case led
in the San Fernando First Crim-
inal Court was that Aguillera
called Ramnath, telling him that
they had copper to sell.
Ramnath met the four men
who took him to a bushy area to
get the copper.
When they got there in Ram-
nath s car, however, the men
Describing the killing as callous,
Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas
said gratuitous violence was
meted out to Ramnath who was
beaten "mercilessly" even though
he handed over his money and
begged for his life. His body was
then thrown down a slope.
The men left in Ramnath s car
which they crashed and then
went to Point Fortin to get some-
thing to eat and drink.
They used varying degrees of
violence against Ramnath, but
the judge found that Aguillera
was the moving force behind the
robbery and the most aggressive
in the beating.
The probation officer s and bio-
social reports, the judge said,
found that the prisoners came
from either broken or single par-
ent homes and had limited edu-
Aguillera and Shawn had pre-
If the matter went to trial and
they were found guilty, the judge
said, 30 years would have been
an appropriate sentence.
The judge, however, deducted
25 per cent from that sentence
because of their guilty plea and
also the eight years and six
months that they were in custody
He also deducted a further two
years from Ayow s sentence
because of his age at the time of
the offence, his previous good
character and the limited role he
played in the killing.
Ayow was sentenced to 12 years
while his co-accused were each
sentenced to 14 years hard labour.
Aguillera was represented by
lawyers Nigel Pilgrim and Giselle
Shawn s lawyers were Rekha
Ramjit and Marissa Bubb, while
Evans Ballai was represented by
Cedric Neptune and Bubb. Ayow
was represented by Beecham
PH driver jailed
16 years after raping 13 year old
Four men convicted for
scrap iron dealer's murder
The felony murder
principle states if a killing
occurs during the
commission of an
arrestable offence involving
violence, all those who
participated in the
arrestable offence are guilty
of unlawful homicide, either
murder or manslaughter,
depending on the facts
participation of the
After the crime, the girl
returned to school, but
was bleeding profusely
and eventually lost
consciousness. The girl
had surgery and spent
four days at the San
Fernando General Hospital.
Justin Thomas is escorted from the San Fernando High Court yesterday to
begin serving a six year and nine months jail term for raping a 13-year-old girl
some 16 years ago. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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