Rape convict's daughter sends judge friend request

The daugh­ter of a con­vict­ed rapist who is wait­ing to be sen­tenced by a High Court judge sent a Face­book friend re­quest to the ju­di­cial of­fi­cer.

A judge said on Fri­day he was alarmed by the in­ci­dent. Jus­tice Hay­den St-Clair brought the mat­ter to the at­ten­tion of the de­fence at­tor­ney rep­re­sent­ing con­vict­ed rapist Mukesh “Legs” Gan­pat, 48, when the mat­ter was called in the San Fer­nan­do Sec­ond Crim­i­nal Court.

In­ter­ject­ing as at­tor­ney Chris Ram­lal was about to make his mit­i­ga­tion plea on be­half of Gan­pat, the judge said he saw the re­quest from Al­isa Gan­pat, whom he be­lieved to the daugh­ter to the ac­cused, and whom he said was seat­ed in court.

The judge said: “It is equiv­a­lent to at­tempt­ing to walk up to me and dis­cuss her fa­ther’s case with me. It is to­tal­ly in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Ques­tion­ing whether any­one would con­sid­er it ap­pro­pri­ate to walk up to a judge in a case in which they have an in­ter­est, the judge said, “I don’t think she would be mad enough to do that. How could she feel she could ap­proach me by that means?” Af­ter speak­ing with the daugh­ter, Ram­lal con­firmed that she sent the re­quest.

He said the daugh­ter claimed she was not di­rect­ly search­ing the judge's name, that his name came up as a friend sug­ges­tion.

Re­ject­ing this ex­pla­na­tion, the judge said that would on­ly hap­pen if they have friends in com­mon.

“Who do I have in com­mon with Al­isa Gan­pat ex­cept for this mat­ter,” asked the judge.

Ram­lal said the con­vict's 23-year-old daugh­ter did not say why she sent the re­quest, but she con­firmed that the judge had not ac­cept­ed her friend re­quest. She said she was sor­ry for send­ing the friend re­quest.

Ram­lal said he was al­so sur­prised by the in­ci­dent. Gan­pat was in June con­vict­ed by a ju­ry of rap­ing an 18-year-old girl in New Grant on June 30, 2004.

St Clair Dou­glas re­mand­ed him in­to cus­tody for mit­i­ga­tion and sen­tenc­ing.

The vic­tim tes­ti­fied that Gan­pat, whom she knew, of­fered her a ride home and she ac­cept­ed. But, he in­stead took her to a house where he raped her.

Gan­pat, who is un­able to work be­cause of an in­jury to his leg, de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion.

Ask­ing for le­nien­cy, Ram­lal said Gan­pat was the sole care­tak­er of his wife who is a stroke vic­tim and us­es a wheel­chair.

Ram­lal said Gan­pat, who has no pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions or pend­ing mat­ters, al­so had med­ical prob­lems. He point­ed the judge to the pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer's re­port which stat­ed that he was not at risk of re-of­fend­ing. How­ev­er, state pros­e­cu­tor Trevor Jones asked the court to send a strong mes­sage in pass­ing sen­tence be­cause such of­fences were se­ri­ous and too preva­lent.

Cit­ing med­ical ex­perts that rape vic­tims suf­fer long-term psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects, he said of­ten times the ef­fects of this bar­bar­ic crime is triv­i­alised.

He sug­gest­ed 18 years as an ap­pro­pri­ate sen­tence. The judge is ex­pect­ed to sen­tence Gan­pat on No­vem­ber 30.

- by Sascha Wilson

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