41-year-old Morris Patrick Johnson was this morning sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for raping a 12-year-old girl between August 12 and 13, 2017 in the county of Demerara. Three months ago, Johnson was found guilty of the offence by a 12 person jury. This morning, he appeared before Justice Brassington Reynolds who imposed the custodial sentence at the Demerara High Court.
Guyana Standard understands that on the evening of August 12, 2017, the young girl and some friends boarded a ‘short drop taxi’ driven by Johnson to head home. However, the car drove past where the child and her friends were expected to get out. Her friends managed to force their way out of the vehicle.
It was reported that Johnson took the underage girl to a location where he had sex with her and then left her by a bridge. The young girl had to walk home. Her family was later told of the incident by her friends. She was taken to a hospital where a medical examination confirmed that she had been raped. The matter was later reported to the police and Johnson was arrested and charged.
In a statement, the victim expressed that the day her innocence was taken away was the worst day of her life. She said that she became depressed and attempted to take her life on several occasions. Referring to Johnson, the young girl said, “I see men as the worst creatures on earth.”
State Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs urged the court to impose a sentence that would serve as a deterrent to sexual offenders and others contemplating such offences. The prosecutor pointed out that Johnson deprived the young girl of the opportunity of deciding to whom she wanted to gave her virginity, something which is sacred to a woman.
The prosecutor urged the court to consider that Johnson has expressed no remorse for his actions, and is still holding out that he is innocent. Johnson’s lawyer, Keoma Griffith, pleaded with the court to have leniency on his client. He asked the court to consider that his client has two young children and a baby on the way.
Meanwhile, in a probation report presented to the court, Johnson was described as a quiet and hardworking man. Many persons in his neighbourhood expressed shock at his conviction, while others said that it was rumored that he was involved in such offences.
Justice Reynolds, in sentencing Johnson to 18 years’ imprisonment told him that he preyed on a young girl and shattered her innocence and bodily integrity. The rape convict only becomes eligible for parole after serving 15 years behind bars.