A father who pleaded guilty on Feb. 16 to committing incest on his biological daughter three times in 2021 was sentenced last month to serve more than 27 years in prison.

The man was 37 when he committed the acts, and his daughter was 15, according to the March 21 High Court judgment.

Justice Thomas Astaphan sentenced the man to serve nine years and three months on each of three counts of incest. The terms, however, will run consecutively, giving him just over 27 years behind bars minus the time he had spent on remand.

He will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years, the judge ruled. To protect the child’s identity, the court withheld the names of the accused and the victim.

Undisputed facts

In the judgment, Mr. Astaphan listed several facts that he said the accused did not challenge.

On March 1, April 9 and April 16 in 2021, the man had unprotected sexual intercourse with his then-15-year-old “blood” daughter, he wrote.

“The father would sometimes make the child consume alcoholic beverages before he subjected her to his sexual acts,” the judgment added. “When she resisted drinking the substances, he would force her to do so.”

At times, the man would also become aggressive, slapping her and hitting her in the mouth, Mr. Astaphan stated. The father never used a condom while committing the sexual acts, and afterwards he sometimes gave her a warm Guinness beer and a “small pink pill,” which the victim described as “the morning pill,” according to the judgment.

Disputed fact

Mr. Astaphan noted that the father disputed only one part of the victim’s claims: that he called and texted her to tell her to prepare for his arrival. But on this point, the judge sided with the victim.

“Why would she lie about this?” he wrote, adding, “I find it very difficult to accept the proposition of the convict that this did not occur.” Nevertheless, the judge stated that he would treat the issue as a “neutral factor” in the sentencing.

Psychological harm

In considering the sentence, Mr. Astaphan considered an impact statement handwritten by the victim, who detailed the effects of her father’s actions.

“About four years ago my life took a turn,” she wrote. “The man I knew as my father violated me by sexually abusing me. I did skip meals for days at a time. I felt like I was ‘dirty.’ I became restless. I was filled with fatigue from not sleeping. I had lash-outs at teachers and friends from being frustrated and not being able to say why I was always in a bad mood.”

She added that she initially blamed herself for not speaking up the first time, but she felt she had no choice because her father was the only person taking care of her.

“I can’t even think about it for too long without crying,” she wrote. “I would usually just gaze out and ruin other people’s mood.” She added that she had “lost a lot,” including her self-esteem, and she was “trying to build back the enthusiastic self like before.”

Aggravating factors

While the judge found no mitigating factors to consider during sentencing, he found several aggravating factors.

They included the fact that the victim is the man’s biological child; the fact that she was under 16 at the time of the offence; the fact that the acts were repeated; the fact that he used physical violence; and the fact that he gave her alcohol. Additionally, Mr. Astaphan cited “uncontested evidence” that the accused ejaculated in the victim.

No rape charge

The judge noted that the maximum sentence for incest is 10 years in prison and that he therefore could not deliver a harsher sentence.

But he also asked why the man wasn’t charged with rape “as well he could have been.” “Had he been so charged, he would have had to face the mighty sword of justice that emanates from a liability to a life sentence,” the judge wrote.

Mr. Astaphan opined that the victim “will be shadowed by those shameful acts of her own father for the rest of her life.”

“There can be no more heinous, evil and destructive act that a man can commit than that of having sexual intercourse with his own child,” he added. “There is, and can never be, any legitimate mitigating factor for such an offence. There is no worse betrayal of a child by her father than this.”

Senior Crown Counsel Patrice Hickson appeared on behalf of the Crown, and the accused was represented by attorney Israel Bruce.