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Jun 14, 2016

Man Acquitted of Rape of 8 year old Girl in the South

A father from Bella Vista, Stann Creek, who was accused of committing a heinous crime of raping and sodomizing an eight-year-old girl in February 2014, is tonight a free man after he was acquitted in a trial by nine women jurors. Jose Pana was accused of rape and an unnatural crime, but was today acquitted of both charges.  The acquittal occurred in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court in Dangriga before Justice Dennis Hanomansingh.  Allegations made by the crown, represented by Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez, is that Pana entered the home where the child was alone, grabbed and raped her in the kitchen.  He allegedly sodomized her as well. But the jury was not swayed even though following the complaint a doctor testified that the child was carnally known.  The child, who is now eleven years old, testified in the trial and said that she went to an aunt’s house to get flour for Pana and while inside the kitchen Pana raped and sodomized her.  In his defence, Pana told the court that on the day in question, he left early in the morning to do construction work at the home of his pastor located in Santa Cruz Village, Stann Creek and did not return until five in the evening. The wife of the accused, who also testified, told the court that her husband did not do construction work, instead he was a banana worker and that on the day of the incident, he had worked half day and thereafter went fishing and returned home at three o’clock which is earlier than Pana indicated he had returned home. The major inconsistency in the trial is that the young girl said the rape occurred in the morning, but other relatives who testified for the crown said it occurred in the afternoon sometime after three. Pana was therefore set free.

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