48-year-old Jegede Hodge who was on December 12, 2019 sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment on four counts of engaging in sexual activity with an underage girl has commenced proceedings at the Court of Appeal where he is challenging his sentence and conviction. Hodge first engaged in sexual activity with the child between May 1 and 31, 2014, when she was just 13.
Again, he did between September 1 and 30, 2014. In 2015, when she turned 14, Hodge, also engaged in sexual activity with her between January 21 and December 31. In 2017, when she turned 16, Hodge repeated sexual activity with her between September 1 and 30.
On the first charge, Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall imposed a sentence of 18 years and 20 years on the second charge. The Judge further imposed a 22 years sentence on the third charge, while a 25 years sentence was given on the last charge. It was ordered by the court that the sentences run concurrently.
In court documents seen by this publication, Hodge’s lawyers George Thomas and Everton Singh-Lammy have argued that the sentence was unfair, too severe and excessive in all the circumstances of the case. The lawyers further argued that the lawyer who represented Hodge during his trial failed to adequately mitigate the sentence. Further, they say that more grounds will be added at the appropriate stage.
The jury had found him unanimously guilty on all four counts. Hodge had said that he was sorry and begged the court for forgiveness. However, the Judge said she found his expression of remorse to be unequivocal and inconsistent with a probation report in which he maintained he was innocent of the crimes.
In a victim impact statement to the court, the girl said she is still traumatized by the incidents, and at times contemplated ending her life. Further, the rape survivor expressed disappointed that her mother did not believe her when she told her that Hodge had been molesting her. The young girl related to the court that Hodge would come and pick her up from school and carry her to different locations where he would have sex with her.
Prosecutors Teriq Mohamed and Nafeeza Baig appeared for the State.