Thirty-three-year-old Damon Assanah, known as ‘Devil’, was on Thursday sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in 2015.
Assanah was sentenced by Justice Brassington Reynolds at the Demerara High Court. In May, he was on trial for three counts of rape, which allegedly occurred during the months of January, October and November 2015.
However, a jury found him not guilty on the first two counts and guilty on the latter, which occurred in November 2015. The State’s case was presented by Prosecutors Nafeeza Baig and Sarah Martin.
During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, a probation report in favour of Assanah was presented in court. According to the report, persons from Assanah’s community described him as a hardworking man, however, after the matter was reported to the police, he would target the victim and her mother.
According to the report, Assanah did not express remorse for his actions and maintained that he is innocent.
Meanwhile, the victim’s impact statement, which was also read in court, detailed how the incident affected her. The victim said that now she is a young woman who is working hard to overcome the trauma Assanah put her through.
The victim said Assanah not only took away her innocence, but he also impregnated her; the pregnancy was later terminated.
“Sometimes I felt like if I can’t trust anyone close to me anymore. This has had a really negative impact on my life, it left me feeling really depressed after what this man did to me.
“He returned to the streets and drag my name through the mud with his friends and family telling them what he did to me; and all the blame was cast onto me saying that I wanted it,” the victim said in her statement.
“Every time he saw me and my mom, he would grab his crotch and sing songs. I dropped out of school because I was not only mocked by classmates but also by teachers because I became pregnant. I felt all alone and scared for my life because this man was still free after what he did to me,” the victim detailed.
Justice Reynolds, before sentencing, highlighted the “barbaric” manner in which the victim was raped by Assanah and the way he breached the trust of the victim.
“Removing you from society, at least for a while, is the least that a court can do in its attempt at joining forces with the rest of civil society to combat, if not overturn the scourge of rape, incest and other deplorable forms of sexual violence being meted out to woman and children in our beloved country,” the judge told Assanah before sentencing him to 18 years behind bars.
According to reports, Assanah is known to the victim and during the month of January 2015, he raped her near a turtle pen. During October 2015, the victim was sent to the shop by her mother and while on her way, she was stopped by Assanah. He allegedly forced her into his car, drove home and raped her again.
It is further alleged that on December 7, 2015, the victim was at school and began vomiting; the next day, her mother took her to the Georgetown Public Hospital where a blood and urine test was conducted.
The tests confirmed that the teen was seven weeks pregnant. She told her mother about the incident with Assanah, who was later arrested by police.