IF a custodial sentence is imposed on paraplegic Ravi Singh, 33, for having sex with a 12-year-old girl, that sentence would be equivalent to the death penalty said his attorney Llewelyn Thompson on Friday.
High Court judge Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor was scheduled to pass sentence on Singh and his two brothers Anand and Mohan at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain Friday but reserved her judgement after Thompson’s mitigation plea.
The brothers are charged with having sex with the girl on different dates between August and December 2005 in Chaguanas.
In his plea for leniency, Thomas said based on his client’s medical condition, he is fully dependant on others to take care of him, and questioned if this care will be given to him while in prison custody.
Thompson said “it would be a sentence of death” should Ravi Singh be sent to prison for the crime given his physical state.
The attorney also asked that the doctor at Golden Grove prison, Dr Vinod Mahabir be made to appear in court and state whether or not the prison service would be in a position to care for the disabled man. It was based on this submission that the judge reserved her ruling until July 7.
Also in his mitigation plea, Thompson said his client was a former carpenter and mason who “worked everyday” to care for his family prior to an incident in 2006 that rendered him disabled.
He said the act was committed because of “youthful stupidity” but noted that despite Ravi, being disabled, he had an active role to play in the development of his community.
Thompson said in 1998, Ravi and his brothers started a tassa group in the area where they lived in which he actively participated until he was found guilty and remanded into prison custody two weeks ago.
Also, Ravi makes it his duty to teach children in the area the art of playing tassa, said Thompson.
Two written testimonials of good character were also submitted during the mitigation plea for the court’s consideration before passing sentence.
Defence attorneys Joseph Honore and Don Waithe who represented Anand and Mohan Singh respectively submitted their plea in mitigation to the court in writing.
In a brief oral submission, Honore expanded on his plea for leniency saying that the act would not have lasted for more than ten minutes in respect of Anand Singh.