By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN who pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually assaulting a minor for nearly two decades will spend two and a half years behind bars for the crimes.
Prince Philip Rahming’s sentence for sexual assault of a girl between April 1997 and February 2013 was due to a plea deal between his lawyer and the Crown that was authorized by the attorney general.
While a conviction for the sexual assault of a minor normally carries a prison term of seven years for the first conviction and 14 years for a subsequent conviction, the court has the discretion to impose a stiffer penalty if the circumstances of the case merit a longer sentence.
The discretion, however, is restricted if a signed plea agreement exists between the Crown and lawyers for an accused that pleaded guilty to an offence in exchange for a mutually agreed sentence.
Justice Vera Watkins yesterday accepted the 50-year-old’s guilty plea on two sexual assault charges before asking his lawyer if she had anything to say.
“We submit Mr Rahming is truly remorseful for what has transpired,” Ramona Farquharson-Seymour said.
“Even before now, he’s begun to seek treatment from professionals, both for his psychological state, but his spiritual. He continues to ask God for forgiveness and he wishes me to convey his remorse to the girl for what has happened. He will never commit such an offence or any offence again,” the lawyer said.
David Cox, Crown prosecutor, said that the complainant in the matter “was saddened by the fact that the incident occurred.”
He added that the authorization of the attorney general in the plea agreement shows that the suggested sentence is appropriate given the “psychological ramifications of the case.”
Justice Watkins said she “considers the fact that he’s prepared to go through counselling.”
“It isn’t always easy to receive counselling in prison but if it’s available, I hope he takes advantage,” the judge noted.
“I also note the complainant was spared the embarrassment of having to go through a trial. The complainant was spared having to relive, rehash all of the incidents she had to go through. This is a situation where it is the complainant who suffered,” the judge added.
Justice Watkins told Rahming that his sentence would run from the date of conviction.