A 37-year-old man was yesterday sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison for raping a 5-year-old in 2011, and for threatening her to keep quiet.
Tamba Theophilus was 32-years-old when he raped his then 5 year-old victim in August 2011. He sat quietly yesterday at Criminal Court ‘E’ at the Temple of Justice.
He previously pleaded not guilty to the crime, a first degree felony that carries a prison term of more than 15 years. He changed his plea after his legal team and state lawyers entered into a plea bargain.
At Monday’s hearing Judge Joseph S. Fayiah imposed what family members and other sympathizers of the victim described as a “much lesser sentence than recommended.”
Judge Fayiah said prosecutors and Theophilus’ defense team had initially agreed to a special sex-offender sentencing alternative.
But he failed to explain conditions of the plea bargain.
The alternative sentence apparently was sought to prevent Theophilius’ victim from suffering further trauma by testifying in court.
Judge Fayiah further said the agreement between the parties took place on September 14, 2015, relying on the statutory provision contained in the revised Code of Law of Liberia.
“The fact is that the court is not a party to the said agreement and therefore the terms and conditions are not binding on it; as well as the power of the court to impose whatever sentence that it deems legal, fair and just,” he said.
“The defendant expressed his willingness to accept any final judgment of this court in its wisdom to impose upon him as a matter of law.”
After declining the alternative sentencing recommendation, the judge, during sentencing, said: “It is the final judgment of this court that the defendant is adjudged guilty of the crime of statutory rape and hereby sentenced to ten years imprisonment retroactively commencing from August 10, 2011 the date of his arrest and incarceration by the Gardnersville Magisterial Court.
“The defendant will serve the last one year of his remaining term of imprisonment under supervised probation, after he shall have served nine of his ten years imprisonment term consistent with the final judgment of this court.
“Predicated upon the plea bargain agreement and in accordance with the law, this final judgment takes into consideration the victim’s age of 5 years at the time of the commission of the rape against her by the defendant.”