DOMINICA –– High Court Judge, Errol Thomas, has slammed the behavior of 51-year-old, Joseph Senhouse of Vieille Case and sentenced him to 35 years jail after he was found guilty on three counts of unlawful sex with an 8-year-old girl in 2013.
He also ruled that Senhouse, because of his actions and behaviour, should be seen by consultant psychiatric Dr. Griffin Benjamin.
Senhouse, who wept when he was sentenced on Friday, was found guilty of buggery, unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault on the girl, then aged 8 years and 6 months, in Penville.
According to some of the facts of the case, Senhouse, who was in a relationship with the child’s mother, had anal sex with the child on three occasions and vaginal sex, about five times. He also told her “not to tell” and gave her fruits (mangoes) and on one occasion, two dollars and another time, five dollars.
In mitigation, Senhouse’s lawyer, Dawn Yearwood Stewart, told the court that she fully accepts the social inquiry report and its findings made on her client. She said he had used “no violence in his actions” and as a child, he had experienced physical abuse at the hands of his mother who kicked him out of her house at the age of 12 and left to fend for himself.
She called on the court to “temper justice with mercy”.
“Give him an opportunity to return to society and don’t shut the door and throw the keys away,” she said.
Before handing down the sentence, Justice Thomas commended the probation officers for their “usual prompt and thorough reports.”
He said that based on the report, the child suffered from “anxiety, fear, stigmatization, ridicule from peers and her social life have been adversely affected.”
Among the aggravating factors of the case, he said, was the fact that the child was eight years old at the time of the incident and weighed about 70 pounds and that Senhouse was in a prior relationship with her mom.
“You must be characterized as a man without a conscience and lacking compassion and humanity,” Thomas told Senhouse. “Dominica needs to be protected from people of your ilk, you have no compassion.”
He also commented that Senhouse is no stranger to the court since he was convicted and jailed for 15 years in 1997 for a sexual offense committed on a minor.
“The 15 years was no deterrent to you, you don’t care, you deserve no mercy,” Justice Thomas said.
On the charge of buggery, he received 25 years; on the charge of unlawful sexual intercourse 25 years. Both sentences are to run concurrently.
On the charge of indecent assault, Senhouse received 10 years to run consecutively.
The maximum sentence in Dominica for buggery is 25 years, unlawful sexual intercourse 25 years and indecent assault 10 years.
The State was represented by attorneys attached to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP,) Fernillia Felix and Sherma Dyrample.