By Zaya Williams
Leon Riley, who was retried and convicted for a rape committed in 2016, now faces additional weeks in detention as he awaits his impending sentence.
Riley’s conviction related to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl near Pensioners Beach several years ago.
Initially arrested and charged with this offense in April 2016, Riley was found guilty by a jury of rape and serious indecency, receiving a 15-year jail sentence. However, in November 2021, his conviction was overturned by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
The appellate court overturned the conviction and sentence, citing the heavy reliance on testimonies from individuals to whom the victim had reported the offense at the earliest opportunity, based on the common law rule of recent complaint.
Section 28 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 9 of 1995 abolished this common law rule concerning evidence of recent complaints in sexual offense cases.
Consequently, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial, which commenced last month under the guidance of a new judge, Justice Ann-Marie Smith. Riley was retried and found guilty in June, leaving him anticipating his sentencing.
In a recent development, Riley’s sentencing, scheduled for last week, was adjourned to allow for a more comprehensive victim impact assessment to be presented to the court.
This delay leaves Riley in suspense regarding the sentence he will ultimately face.