GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced Dharampaal Ram yesterday to 2 years of imprisonment, with 1 year suspended and 3 years of probation for improper sexual contacts on December 7 of last year with a girl that had just turned nine years old.
The court also imposed a string of special conditions: a ban on contacting the girl again, a duty to report to the probation office, a ban on the use of drugs and alcohol and mandatory treatment as seen fit by the probation office. The sentence is in line with the public prosecutor’s demand.
The 47-year-old defendant admitted to what he had done (this newspaper will refrain from publishing details), but the public prosecutor labeled his confession as half-hearted.
It appears that Ram was drunk when the incident happened. In court he noted that 25 years ago, in 1992, he had been hit hard on his head and that he is ever since occasionally ‘confused.’
“I did not want to do this. There was too much going on in my life,” he said, adding that he did not want to lose his family. That happened all the same; since the details of the case surfaced, his wife has left him.
Ram had told the police that he gets ‘tempted’ by the behavior of young girls; later his attorney Geert Hatzmann specified this: “My client has pedophilic tendencies.” The judge confirmed this when he rendered his verdict, saying that the defendant’s actions are a result of his personality.
“He was living with a big secret,” attorney Hatzmann said. “He did not want to lose his family.”
This explained, according to the attorney, why Ram had categorically denied all accusations until DNA-evidence proved otherwise. Before his confession, he told police that the mother and the girl wanted to squeeze money out of him.
The public prosecutor considered the charges proven. “This defendant did not wholeheartedly confess. First he denied, then he confessed when the DNA-evidence was available and now he says that this did not happen on his initiative. He blames others for what happened.”
The prosecutor considered that Ram is a first offender but he also looked at the age difference with his little victim – 46 to just 9 years when it happened.
The demand was identical to the sentence described above. The prosecutor emphasized that Ram needs help.
Attorney Hatzmann said that the judge and the prosecutor had every reason to put his client in the hot seat. “He was almost indignant when he denied the charges, but my client had pedophilic tendencies; he has lived with this secret for a long time and he did not want to lose his family.”
The most important thing is, Hatzmann said, that Ram confessed to what he has done. However, the attorney also put things in the perspective of local morals, saying that he had seen 8 and 9-year olds dance sexually suggestive during Carnival while their parents were standing by, laughing about their kids theatrics and drinking beer.
“My client is a pariah in the prison system. It is not safe for him there,” Hatzmann said. “I even heard that inmates have spread the rumor that I had passed away. I don’t know what to think of it, but I am not looking forward to my next visit to the Pointe Blanche prison.”
The attorney said that keeping his client longer behind bars does not make sense, because he needs help. He suggested a sentence of 365 days, with 260 days suspended and termination of the pretrial detention.
That idea fell on deaf ears with the judge who considered the serious charges proven based on the complaint, DNA-evidence and the defendant’s confession. “However, this is not a defendant who understands what he does wrong and takes responsibility for it,” the judge said. “His actions are the result of his personality, his pedophilic tendencies. He qualifies for TBS – mandatory treatment in captivity, but we have no possibility to impose TBS here.”
The judge said that the community therefore has to be protected against Ram with other means – a prison sentence and special conditions he will have to adhere to once he gets out of jail. The judge emphasized that Ram will be subject to controls on alcohol and drug consumption.