A High Court judge has jailed a 36-year-old man for one year after he was found guilty of forcing his then ex-girlfriend to go naked in public and threatening to rape her if she did not follow his demand more than four years ago.
Justice Brian Cottle, in imposing the sentence on Levorn Williams. told the accused “on that day, you behaved very, very bad”.
The judge told Williams “things could have turned out a lot worse for you had the jury returned a verdict on the other offences for which you were charged”.
After Williams serves the prison term for abduction, a further sentence of 11 months and 20 days in jail will be suspended for one year.
Justice Cottle said that the maximum penalty for one of the other offences with which Williams had been charged — attempted rape — is life imprisonment.
“The jury was convinced that you did not go beyond making preparation and it is for that reason that they returned the verdict that they did. But that in no way excuses or condones the way that you behaved on that day. I hope that, as your counsel says, you have learnt your lesson from that behaviour and we will not see you again before this court. You understand?”
Williams had also been charged with attempted rape, for which the jury found him not guilty, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, a charge on which there was a hung jury.
The court heard that on August 30, 2015, Williams attended a high school reunion which was also attended by his former girlfriend. At the end of the event, Williams agreed to give the woman and two other schoolmates a lift, as their arranged transportation did not show up.
But after dropping off the two other people, the accused refused to take the woman home even after she made repeated requests for him to do so.
The court heard that there was a confrontation between the two and Williams told the woman to take off her clothes, which she did. Williams indicated to the woman that he would rape her if she did not run.
The woman ran out of the vehicle naked in an effort to escape Williams, who later drove away, leaving the woman naked and distressed.
Williams was arrested after the woman made a report following the ordeal.
In handing down the sentence last Friday, Justice Cottle noted that there was no victim impact report before the court and that the court would be guided by decided cases as there were no sentencing guidelines for abduction.
He said that the maximum penalty for abduction is five years in prison and that while abduction is not a common offence before the court, in two recent matters, the court adopted a starting point of two years in prison.
The judge said he saw no reason to depart from that, noting that the aggravating feature of the offence was the fact that Williams had shared an intimate relationship with the woman in the past and, therefore, the woman had trusted him.
“He abused that trust,” the judge said, adding that Williams humiliated the complainant by forcing her to run naked to strangers for help.
Justice Cottle also noted Williams’ threat to rape the woman, saying that these features merit moving the starting point up to three years.
The only mitigating feature, the judge said, is that no weapon was used, and no gratuitous violence was meted out. —CMC