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Child Molester Asks Court To Set Him Free


A convicted child molester has asked a Court of Appeal (COA) panel to set him free.

Andre Birbal spent nearly two hours trying to convince COA judges to quash his conviction and release him from Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).

As an alternative, Birbal asked the justices to reduce his 35-year sentence if they did not want to let him go.

He said he should be given a lenient sentence between six and 10 years to run concurrently.

Last year Birbal was convicted of having unnatural sexual intercourse with two of his former male student.

The boys were students at the Eight Mile Rock High School in Grand Bahama.

At the time, the former teacher was sentenced to 35 years in prison – 20 years for the first five counts and 15 years for the second to run consecutively.

In court, the 50-year-old Trinidadian argued several points which he told the panel should lead them to release him.

Firstly, the convict said there could have been possible collusion between the two boys because there was evidence of them communicating and the judge should have directed the jury how to assess that properly.

COA President Anita Allen agreed noting that the judge should have informed the jury that there might have been collusion between the two boys.

Birbal also gave the panel several instances where the boys could have “concocted” a plan against him.

He said they both lived in Hanna Hill in Eight Mile Rock; they both attended the Eight Mile Rock High School and they were in some of the same classes together.

Birbal also suggested that the panel let him go because there was innocent contamination of the case from a third party; there was not full discovery of evidence for the defence; the defence’s case was not properly put to the jury and there was adverse publicity against him before and after the Supreme Court trial.

The former art teacher also argued that is sentence was “unduly severe” and said the judge never gave any consideration about previous convictions.

“He did not give any weight to the mitigating factors,” Birbal told the judges.

“He erred in imposing the maximum sentence and the sentence was not proportionate to the charges against me. The judge also did not consider that I had no previous convictions.”

But Justice Christopher Blackman disagreed.

He said the judge spoke about Birbal having no previous convictions and his community service in his written decision on sentencing.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Vinette Graham-Allen also refuted Birbal’s claims.

She told the panel that the judge properly instructed the jury regarding the trial’s publicity and advised the jury on the defence’s case. She said the sentence was not unduly severe.

When Justice Allen asked the DPP in summary what should happen overall, she said that the panel should uphold the conviction and sentence.

She explained, however, that if the court was mindful about the sentence, it could impose a sentence it deemed appropriate.

The judges reserved their decision in the matter.

Until that time, Birbal will remain behind bars.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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