22-year-old acquitted in rape of underage girl

A 22-year-old man was, on Monday, found not guilty by a 12-member jury on two counts of rape committed on an underage girl.

Acquitted: Reon Joseph

Reon Joseph of Wren Avenue, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown, was on trial for the offence before Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the High Court in Demerara.
It was alleged that on two occasions between December 1 and 31, 2017, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual penetration with an 11-year-old girl.
On the first count, the jurors were split – 11 not guilty to one guilty. They, however, returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on the second count.
State Counsel Muntaz Ali prosecuted the case in association with State Counsel Nafeeza Baig and State Counsel Latifah Elliot. Joseph was represented by Attorney-at-Law Teriq Mohammed.
The prosecution had alleged that on the day after school had closed for the Christmas holidays in December 2017, Joseph invited the young girl over to his home.
At the time no one was at home, and the prosecution further alleged that Joseph began kissing the girl and taking off her clothes before raping her on a bed.
It was alleged that before sending the girl home, Joseph instructed her not to tell anyone about what he did. The prosecution also contended that Joseph raped the girl for a second time that same week while he was over at her home.
The following year, the girl confided in her mother, who later made a report at the Police station. Joseph was initially charged with the offence in May 2018 and remanded to prison. At the time, he was a member of the Guyana Defence Force. (G1)