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Tuesday, April 04, 2006
71-year-old jailed for sexually assaulting girl, 12

Guyana Chronicle

`Children should be protected – not molested’ -- judge

By George Barclay

SEVENTY-one-year-old Arthur Oggis, alias ‘Otis’, who committed four sexual offences on a 12-year-old girl at his Kingston, Georgetown home and threatened to kill her if she told anyone, was yesterday sentenced to a total of 28 years in jail by Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards.

But because the judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently, he will serve only 10 years in jail.

When the matter was called up for hearing a week ago, Oggis, trembling in the dock, pleaded guilty.

Lawyer Mr. Hukumchand, who appeared for the accused amicus curi (as a friend of the court) had requested a probation report before sentence.

Prosecutor Miss Omeyana Hamilton supported the application for the report which was presented yesterday by Senior Probation and Social Services Officer Ms Carol Williams.

According to the report, Oggis was born in 1935 in St Vincent, West Indies. The accused spent his formative and adolescent years in St Vincent and migrated to Guyana in 1975 at age 40.

He lives alone in a small wooden shack in ‘C’ Field, Sophia, Georgetown. When he committed the crime, he worked as a security guard.

Investigations by the Probation Officer revealed that he came into contact with the 12-year-old girl while she ran errands for her mother. He encouraged her to pick fruits from the yard in Kingston, Georgetown where he lived at that time, and it was on these occasions that the offences were committed.

The Probation Officer added, “The accused has betrayed the trust of a child and the trust society has placed in him, as the unofficial guardian and protector of children. Child protection is every adult’s responsibility.

“The accused ought to have acted more responsible; but instead he has committed a heinous act which has infringed the rights of the child and may leave an indelible impression in her young mind.

“In the circumstance, it is hoped, that in the dissemination of justice, the court will bear in mind, society’s interpretation of such a crime”.

Attorney-at-law Mr. Mortimer Coddett joined Hukumchand as a friend of the court in asking the judge to be lenient with the aged man. Coddett pointed out that Oggis had completed his life span and that there might not be many more years left for him. He urged the judge not to impose a custodial sentence that would ensure that he dies in prison.

Reacting, the judge said she did not have the scale of life in her hand and declared that the prisoner must search his to see if he can find anything to justify what he had done.

She observed that children in the society should be protected and not molested by citizens, moreso senior citizens.

The judge noted also that the prisoner could have been the great, great grandfather of the victim.

The offences were committed on November 10, 2001, December 28, 2001, and January 8, 2002.