Wednesday 22 November 2017

Outrage as man (20) who raped girl (12) and made her pregnant is jailed for just 10 months

Conaire Adams-Whyte confessed to raping girl (12) in court
Conaire Adams-Whyte confessed to raping girl (12) in court

John Cassidy

Politicians last night expressed their dismay after a west Belfast man who raped a 12 year old girl -and got her pregnant - was jailed for just 10 and a half months.

Conair Adams-Whyte (20), from Crocus Street off the Springfield Road, pleaded guilty at Belfast Crown Court yesterday to a single charge of raping the schoolgirl in the bedroom of his home.

Members of the Green Party and DUP, said they were dismayed by the leniency of the sentence handed down by the judge.

DUP South Antrim election candidate Pam Cameron welcomed the prosecution but said it was "very important that the toughest possible sentences are handed out for child rape". "If it was my child, I don't think I'd feel that justice had been done," she said.

Clare Bailey of the Green Party, who worked for sexual abuse counselling service Nexus, said that many people would feel that the sentence needed to be longer.

Judges are bound by sentencing guidelines and must take into account mitigating circumstances, such as early guilty pleas, co-operation with police and remorse, as well as aggravating factors, such as intent and excessive violence.

Prosecution counsel Jackie Orr QC told the court that on September 29, 2015, police received a report that a 12-year-old girl was pregnant.

The police later met the schoolgirl at her home and she told officers that the father was Conair Adams-Whyte and she showed officers a number of messages she had received from the father on Facebook.

During a later recorded interview, the girl told police that she was supposed to be staying with Adams-Whyte's mother but she failed to pick her up.

She said that sometime later the defendant arrived at her home to collect her by taxi and took to the home he shared with his mother.

"The couple sat and watched television in the living room. She told police she asked him where she was going to be sleeping, the defendant told there was a TV in his bedroom and she was going to sleep in another bedroom afterwards.

"She told police that 'things just started to happen... it wasn't planned to happen but it did'.

She told police the defendant kissed her, took off the bottom part of her clothing and then he took off the bottom part of his clothing and he had sexual intercourse with her.

During the interview, she told police it was "sore" but she said she did not say 'no' or tell him to stop.

Adams-Whyte was arrested on October 1, 2015 and police took a DNA sample from him.

Ms Orr QC said: "He completely denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant and was released on bail."

In April 2016, the baby boy was born and a DNA sample was taken from the child which was a match to the defendant.

He was again arrested and when told that he was the father of the child, the prosecution counsel said Adams-Whyte "was speechless".

Saying the defendant had come from a "difficult family background'' Judge Smyth said that he was currently the subject of a "severe threat from a criminal element".

The court was told that a victim impact report said that the 12-year-old child was not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

It added that she was receiving support from a "loving mother" and her family along with social services as she copes with bringing up a child now as a 14-year-old.

Adams-Whyte has been assessed as medium likelihood of reoffending, but was not regarded as posing a serious risk of harm to the public.

"You have expressed shame for your offending and you agree that you took advantage of the situation.

"I am taking into account the fact that you're a vulnerable young man with cognitive difficulties. You were exposed to inappropriate influences which may explain your sexualisation as a young child yourself and in my view I find it likely that this contributed to this offending.

"If it were not for that fact I would have imposed a sentence of two years.

"In all the circumstances the appropriate determinate sentence is one of 21 months with 10 and a half months in custody and 10 and a half months on licence."

Adams-Whyte was placed on the sex offenders list for 10 years, barred from working with children and was told by the judge he may be barred from vulnerable people.

He was also made the subject of a five year Sexual Offenders Prevention Order.

Last night, Clare Bailey of the Green Party, who worked for sexual abuse counselling service Nexus, said: "I welcome the fact that a conviction was secured in this case. However, the sentencing seems to be very lenient.

"This man will be out of jail in ten and a half months but the impact of what he did to this child will be life-long for her.

"The sentence doesn't seem to be sufficient for a crime like this."

The South Belfast Green party candidate added: "I hope this young girl and her family are receiving all the help they need to recover from this devastating experience.

"The case also raises the issue of the access that rapists can have to their children."

The DUP candidate for South Antrim, Pam Cameron, said: "I welcome the prosecution and conviction secured in this case but it is very important that the toughest possible sentences are handed out for child rape.

"If it was my child, I don't think I'd feel that justice had been done.

"I believe that sentencing guidelines must be reviewed. The question must be asked if a sentence of 10 and a half months is enough to deter other perpetrators. The case also highlights that rape isn't a crime confined to strangers attacking women on a dark street at night. The perpetrator knew this child and raped her in his home," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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