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FOURTEEN years after he was accused of rape, an Erin farmer was, on Thursday, freed following medical evidence that his then 11-year-old accuser’s hymen was still intact and she suffered no vaginal bleeding after the alleged incident.
A mixed jury, consisting of five men and four women, returned a unanimous not guilty verdict against Damian Garcia, 44, after deliberating for two hours.
The matter was heard in the High Court at the newly-established O’Meara Judicial Centre before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, who told Garcia he was free to go.
Attorney Kevin Ratiram represented Garcia.
The State was represented by Norma Peters and Keisha Baptiste-Trotman.
The State’s main witness, now resident in the USA, testified virtually, via video link.
According to the evidence presented in the trial which began on March 6, she said she was 11 years old on December 14, 2009, when Garcia raped her.
The incident is said to have occurred at the family’s home at Park Ridge, Siparia, where the victim lived with her sister as her mother had died, sometime before.
Garcia also lived in the building with his girlfriend. The alleged victim said he warned her not to tell anyone about what happened.
She did not tell her sister about the incident, because she was pregnant at the time, but confided to two friends and a teacher on January 18, 2010.
WPC Insp Shelly-Ann Ried, who charged Garcia, testified for the prosecution, that on January 25 she took the girl to be medically examined.
Ried testified that Dr Ganga Bhagirathee’s medical report found the girl’s hymen to be present. The report said, however, there were, “12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock positions, which were probably caused by penetration.”
In her evidence, Reid said on April 14, 2010, Garcia came to the Siparia CID. She told him about the report made against him and cautioned him, but he denied the incident ever happened.
Garcia was subsequently charged on June 24, 2010.
In his defense, Garcia testified that the rape charge was fabricated to get him out of the house. He said the girl’s aunt was always demanding he pay monies towards the maintenance of the house, apart from a prior agreement to share only electricity and water bills.
This led to conflict and abuse against him and calls for him to leave the premises, he testified.
As a barber at the time, one who made house calls from Monday’s to Thursday’s, Garcia said he would not have been at the house at the time of the alleged incident, around midday on a Monday.
He said he usually left for work between 8 to 9 am, and returned home around 3 to 4 pm.
In his closing arguments, Ratiram told the jury that alleged act described by the girl, that when Garcia was having sex with her, he was very rough and it was very painful, were highly improbable.
“It is unrealistic that the alleged act, as described by the girl, could have occurred, yet the hymen was still present, there was no vaginal bleeding, and no external injuries to her body,” he submitted.
The jury returned a not guilty verdict against Garcia.