Man faces five years in jail for child rape

PHILIPSBURG--A 30-year-old man stood trial for rape charges in the Court of First Instance Wednesday. The Prosecutor's Office requested Judge Tamara Tijhuis to sentence S.F.H. to five years for raping a 12-year-old girl.

 
The defendant denied he had raped the girl, who was living in the same apartment building as he did, on August 23, 2012.
 
He told the Court the girl had been flirting with him and invited him into her house and had consented to have sex with him.
 
The mother had filed a complaint. The girl had told a totally different story to the police, stating that the man had come to her house while her mother was at work. He had asked for some matches and had forced his way into the house after which he had overpowered and raped her.
 
Sperm cells with the defendant's DNA were found on the victim's belly, while there was also evidence of penetration, Prosecutor Dounia Benammar said.
 
The suspect, who was arrested at Princess Juliana International Airport, denied he had tried to escape to his native Jamaica.
 
Despite the fact he had bought his ticket on the day of his arrest, he said his trip to Jamaica to attend his brother's memorial was "planned" in advance.
The Prosecutor said the suspect was "evidently" lying, and dismissed his statements as "unreliable."
She described the victim as a "serious" girl who loved to read. "She was raped in her own home and at a very young age," the Prosecutor said, stating this were aggravating circumstances warranting a five-year sentence.
 
Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel pointed to the fact that her client was of the opinion that the girl, who looked mature for her age, was 17 or 18-years-old. The age of consent is 15.
 
The Prosecutor said it did not matter whether the suspect thought the girl was older or not. "The girl was 12, and that's a fact," Benammar said.
 
Attorney Bommel pleaded for her client's acquittal and for his discharge from prosecution.
 
Bommel questioned the reliability of the DNA-samples. She stated that according to the Dutch Forensic Institution NFI additional investigations were warranted to ascertain whether the DNA that was found was indeed her client's or somebody else's.
 
"This is certainly no legal or convincing evidence, as the Prosecutor put it," Bommel said.
She also pointed to the fact that the "very terse" doctor's statement did not mention any signs of physical violence, pain or sexual abuse. "The NFI-report does not give any indications of this either," the lawyer said. The Judge will give her decision on February 20.
 
(The Daily Herald)

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