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Ariel Bolah’s killer to be sentenced on April 8

Twely Joseph - was convicted of the school girl’s murder in December 2019

The highly anticipated sentencing of 19-year-old Twely Joseph, who was last December convicted of the brutal November 2017 murder of 8-year-old school girl Ariel Bolah, has been pushed back to April 8, pending the preparation of reports to assist the court in determining the sentence to be handed down to the teenager.

The matter came up for sentencing on Monday before High Court Judge Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court but after perusing Twely’s social inquiry and psychiatric reports, the female judge held the view that they were not thoroughly prepared and took a decision to order reassessments.

Speaking with THE NEW TODAY on Tuesday, longs

tanding Attorney-at-Law George Prime, who is representing the convicted teenager, gave some insight into one of the psychiatric reports, which concluded that his client “had a deficiency in sexual relations (and) that he has never had a girlfriend”.

“…The court needs further studies to show that at the time he committed the offence he may have very well been suffering from other difficulties,” he explained.

According to attorney Prime, this process is necessary as set out in the Sentencing Guidelines, which was introduced by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) last October, noting that it could lead to a deduction of years from the notional starting point in determining sentencing.

“The guidelines say how you have to start deducting…so because of the guidelines now she (Justice Gilford) wants to conduct further studies (after it) became known that he (Twley) had difficulties because these studies (the reports that were already done,) as it stands now says that he is alright (and) he has no medical, no physical, no mental problem,” he said.

Attorney Prime said that due to the severity of the offence of Non-Capital Murder, which carries a maximum death sentence, Justice Gilford also sought more time to thoroughly review the reports.

However, he noted that according to the law as set out in the Criminal Code because Joseph was a juvenile when he committed the crime, the death penalty nor the life sentence, cannot be imposed upon him.

The 8-year-old girl was found lying naked on the ground in a bushy area close to her home in Frequente, St. George around 11.00 a.m on November 11, 2017, with a belt tightly strapped around her neck and a piece of wood, similar to a mop or broom stick, stuck inside her mouth.

The evidence presented in court during the almost 3-week long trial indicated that several teeth were also missing from her lower jaw and she had multiple bruises to her face, ear, back and buttocks, including lacerations measuring 2cm and a 2×1cm stab wound to her left cheek.

The autopsy report said the young schoolgirl died as a result of asphyxiation, post-trauma and sexual assault.

A Cuban pathologist who was one of 13 witnesses called by the state said that Ariel was still alive when the wounds were inflicted on her body.

The matter has been adjourned to April 8 for sentencing.

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