Minibus driver sentenced to 25 years for raping schoolgirl

44-year-old bus driver Inteaz Mohamed who was found guilty of raping a 15-year-old schoolgirl was on Friday sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment by High Court Judge Brassington Reynolds.

The jury found that between September 1 and 30, 2014, and January 1 and 30, 2015, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual penetration with a child under the age of 16.

In September 2014, he picked up the young girl from school and thereafter took her to a dark bushy area and raped her. Then in January of the following year, he picked her up from lessons and took her to the same area where he raped her again.

The teenager confided in her brother about what took place and a Police report was subsequently made. As a result, Mohamed was arrested and charged with two counts of child rape.

State Counsel Nafeezah Baig and State Counsel Sarah Martin appeared for the Prosecution, while Attorney-at-law Latchmie Rahamat represented the now-convicted rapist.

In a statement, the victim expressed that she does not forgive Mohamed for what he has done to her. She said that due to the abuse, she is unable to trust another person and is finding it difficult to sleep as she is haunted by memories of the incident.

As such,  the victim asked that Mohamed be given the maximum penalty.

For his part, Mohamed told the court, “I am asking this court to be lenient on me. I have been accused wrongfully. I have a daughter [who is] 16-years-old and she would be punished more than me. I came with one thing in mind to prove my innocence. I didn’t commit this act.”

Meanwhile, Justice Reynolds in his sentencing remarks told Mohamed that he preyed on the young girl in a predatory manner and betrayed her trust.

The Judge pointed out that the courts have taken notice of the appalling conduct of minibus and taxi operators who are left to transport children to and from school.

“… drivers who continue to consider schoolgirls who travel in their busses and cars to go to school as theirs for the taking,” Justice Reynolds said, adding that the courts “must continue to set its faces against such behaviour.”

Having considered his age, domestic circumstances, the fact that he is a first-time offender, and other determinants, the High Court Judge sentenced Mohammed to 25 years’ imprisonment on each of the two counts of rape. The sentences will run concurrently.

Mohamed was on trial for the offence at the High Court in Demerara.