Rape appeal hearing deferred for pensioner serving 2 life sentences
The appeal hearing for a septuagenarian who, back in 2017, was handed two life sentences after a jury found him guilty of raping a girl, has been deferred until further notice. The matter was previously scheduled for hearing on Thursday, May 11, today.
Michael Abrams, who has previously described himself as a “devoted Catholic”, is contending that the verdicts are unreasonable and the prison terms are manifestly excessive. He argues, inter alia, that the trial Judge failed to adequately put his defence to the jury, and this has amounted to a grave miscarriage of justice. As such, he is asking the Court of Appeal to set aside both his sentences and convictions.
The first count of rape, for which Abrams was found guilty, occurred at some time between January 1 and 19, 2016; and the second count was committed on January 19, 2016. The jury’s verdicts on both charges were unanimous.
During trial proceedings, which were held in-camera, the court had heard the testimony of Abrams inserting his finger into the six-year-old girl’s vagina, and also sodomising her. High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall had admonished Abrams for his wrongdoings, telling him, “You say you are a devoted Catholic, I hope you pray to God and ask forgiveness.”
Following the guilty verdicts, Abrams had said that even though the jury “in their wisdom” had found him guilty, he is maintaining his innocence.
“This situation makes me feel sad. I felt like the accused [Abrams] would try to hurt me,” the rape survivor had expressed in a victim impact statement.
For her part, the State Prosecutor had urged the court to impose the maximum sentence on Abrams, and, in so doing, had pointed out that the rape convict had abused his position of trust, and had violated the child in the worst possible way, shattering her innocence.
From the evidence, Justice Morris-Ramlall had said, it was evident that the young girl had loved Abrams. The Judge had said that Abrams “pretended” to love her, and treated her “like a beast.”
In sentencing the child rapist, the Judge took into consideration the aggravating and mitigating factors, as well as the circumstances surrounding the case. In the end, she sentenced him to serve life imprisonment on each of the two counts. The sentences will run concurrently, and he becomes eligible for parole after severing 35 years.
The hearing of the convict’s appeal had been previously deferred because of missing notes of evidence. His appeal will be heard by Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag), Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud. (G1)