Dennis Gabourel convicted of grievous harm after three trials

57 year old Dennis Gabourel, a Belize City businessman and taxi operator, was charged with rape and grievous harm of his former common-law wife, but he was only convicted of the latter charge on Wednesday, after a jury of seven men and two women returned a unanimous verdict of guilty in the court of Justice Troadio Gonzalez.

The jury deliberated for two hours before announcing its unanimous verdict of guilty of grievous harm and 8 to 1 in favour of not guilty of rape.

On September 19, 2003, according to the complainant, who was a nurse at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital at the time of the incident, she got off from work and met Dennis Gabourel in the parking lot, and asked him for a ride to her home. However, he drove her to the Hanger area near the seaside next to the Municipal Airstrip and raped her.

Later in the day, after she took her kids to school, Gabourel visited her house, and she tried to prevent him from coming in through the back door, but he forced his way in. When she tried to call for help from her verandah, he pulled her inside and she lost consciousness shortly thereafter. She came to only to find herself bleeding.

Speaking from the dock, Dennis Gabourel admitted to intercourse with the complainant, but claimed it was consensual. He explained the fall as the result of her attacking him and he moving out of the way.

The first trial also saw a conviction which was overturned on appeal at the Court of Appeal, which ordered a retrial.

The retrial was aborted over prejudicial evidence and a third trial was ordered.

Crown Counsel Kileru Awich prosecuted, and Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson was Mr Gabourel’s defense counsel.

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