Man acquitted of rape of girl in Stann Creek

Jose Pana, a 37 year old farmer from Bella Vista, Stann Creek District, was acquitted this morning by a jury of nine women in the Southern Session of the Supreme Court sitting in Dangriga before Justice Denis Hanomansingh. Pana was charged with rape and unnatural crime for allegedly raping and sodomizing an 8 year old girl back in February 2014, but the jury needed just 55 minutes to find him not guilty of both charges. The prosecution charged that Pana entered the home where the child was alone at the time, having gone to get an item for him, where he grabbed her and raped her in the kitchen, then sodomized her before leaving. The victim testified that she went to an Aunt’s house to get flour for Pana when the incident took place. In the trial, Pana was represented by attorney, Arthur Saldivar. In his defence, Pana told the court that on the day in question, he had gone to do some construction work at the home of his Pastor which is located in Santa Cruz, Stann Creek. He said he had gone from his home at around 2:30 that morning and that he did not return until the evening at around 5:30 p.m. Pana’s wife’s testimony contradicted her husband’s; she said he was a banana worker and that on the day of the incident, he had worked half day at the banana field then the other half of the day, and he went fishing and came home at 3:00. According to the child, the rape occurred in the morning, but other relatives who testified for the Crown said it occurred in the afternoon sometime after 3 p.m.

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