By Zaya Williams
For a second time, a man was told that he is in fact guilty of raping a teenage girl.
Leon Riley was convicted of rape and serious indecency again in a case that was retried after the accused won his appeal almost two years ago.
In April 2016 in the vicinity of Pensioners Beach the defendant forced himself on a 15-year-old girl and was arrested and charged shortly after.
He was convicted of rape and serious indecency before High Court Justice Keith Thom in February 2019 after a jury found him guilty.
The judge then sentenced him to 15 years behind bars.
But in November 2021, the man was freed after the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal overruled his conviction.
The appellate court scrapped the conviction and sentence on the grounds that the prosecution relied heavily on testimonies of witnesses to whom the victim reportedly told of the offense at the first opportunity (the common law rule of recent complaint).
But Section 28 of the Sexual Offences Act No.9 of 1995 abolished the common law rules relating to evidence of recent complaints in sexual offense cases.
As a result, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial and that began last month with Justice Ann-Marie Smith as the new Judge.
The witness would have taken the stand, telling the court that the defendant was a friend of her mother and one day being in urgent need of assistance to print a project she visited the man’s business place.
She said he offered her a ride home to collect the electronic copy of the assignment and on their way back to his business place to print it, he made a detour down to Five Islands where he engaged in sexual intercourse with her and put his privates in her mouth.
The man and his lawyer Wendel Robinson, failed to convince the jury that the incident did not happen.
As a result, seven of eight jurors found him guilty.