24.03.2017

Five years in prison for sexual assault in Grand Case

The events took place two years ago. The author was sentenced by the Correctional Court of Saint-Martin.

 

The events date back from February 15, 2015. That evening, NCR, a young woman, is going out with friends on the Dutch side. Later in the evening, she doesn't feel well and decides to go home to Grand Case. She takes a cab that her boyfriend has ordered. Two friends of the couple will wait for her to pay the taxi. Once she arrived in Grand Case, the young woman gets out of the car, her friends aren't there. She is approached by a man. She is drunk. A few minutes later, her friends arrive at the meeting place. She is not here. They are looking for her and will find her lying on the ground behind a car. Appearing like dead. The next morning, the memory of the young woman is blurred. She has pain in the pubic area. She has traces of blows, type of bruises on various parts of the body. She understands that she has been sexually assaulted. She goes to the police to file a complaint. The retailer that the friends of the couple had questioned to pick her up, provides surveillance videos of the evening to investigators; his store was close to the place where the victim was found. On the images, we see a man approaching the young woman and pushed her into a secluded area, her head knocks against a wall. Then he sexually assaults her. A few days later, moments of the evening come back in the mind of the victim and she will remember her attacker. She already ran into him a few times in French Quarter and is able to recognize him on photo composition at the gendarmerie. The individual, JH, 21 years old, is arrested. To investigators, he explains that that evening, he saw the young woman arguing with the taxi driver and tried to help her. She was very angry, he says. Then, according to him, she would have tried to seduce him. They sat on a wall, and she would have stroked his thigh, which excited him. She would have done a fellatio to him and took herself off her panties. They would have made love for two minutes. He says it was consensual. He has not abused her. He said to the police that he did not even ejaculate. His DNA will be found in the victim's vagina. However, the nature of rape has not been retained by justice. The individual is prosecuted for sexual assault. Therefore, he was not tried before the Criminal Court in Guadeloupe - where he would have incurred a maximum sentence of twelve years - but before the Correctional Court of Saint-Martin where he faces a maximum of five years in prison. The trial was held on Thursday, March 16. The victim was absent from the hearing, she now lives in France with her son. She is represented by her attorney seeking 15,000 euros in damages, for all type of prejudices. The accused is also absent but is not represented by an attorney. According to the Prosecutor's requests, he is sentenced to five years in prison. An arrest warrant is also issued against him. This means that the gendarmes should go pick him up at his home for his transfer to prison. But the military did not have to do so. Late in the afternoon, while the audience was coming to an end, the perpetrator is in court. He had forgotten his summons. The arrest warrant is executed immediately. The gendarmes are called to court for support. He was transferred the next day to prison in Guadeloupe.

Estelle Gasnet

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