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Jury finds Devon Francique not guilty of Rape

Devon Francique - found not guilty of the rape of one of his male students

Suspended school Vice Principal Devon Francique, who was accused of raping a 7-year-old student in March 2014, was last week Friday acquitted of the charge by a jury at the end of his two (2) and a half week long trial held before Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the St. George’s No. 1 High Court on St. John’s Street.

The 9-member-jury returned a split majority verdict of 7-2 after spending two-and-a-half hours deliberating on the evidence that was presented by the Prosecution team which was led by Senior Crown Counsel, Howard Pinnock.

Francique, who is a well-known modeling instructor, and Calypso judge, from Mt. Parnassus, St. George was facing a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment.

Police had charged him in connection with the alleged penetration of the young man’s anus in an incident said to have occurred in a classroom on the Grand Anse R.C school compound on the afternoon of March 5.

The incident allegedly took place after the student was sent to Francique by his class teacher for punishment for violating some of the school rules.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the child was examined by a doctor approximately three (3) hours after the alleged incident, who indicated that there were two (2) separate injuries to the boy’s anus by a male genital.

The media was not allowed in court during the course of the trial, which saw Pinnock calling a total of five (5) witnesses including the now 12-year-old victim and a teacher at the school to give evidence to the court.

Well-placed sources told this newspaper that the evidence of a school teacher was key in the case as he told the court that the incident as alleged could not have happened on the day in question as he was always in close proximity.

Before the verdict was handed down, Pinnock had expressed the view that “there is strong medical evidence to support the charge” brought against Francique.

The defense, led by experienced defence barrister-at-law, Anselm Clouden called six (6) witnesses, all teachers, who vouched for Francique’s innocence.

An elated Clouden told reporters after the verdict was delivered, “Mr. Francique, from the very beginning had protested his innocence…the evidence was clear, there was no connection, no interaction with the youth…”.

“Mr. Francique’s innocence has been vindicated and he is to return to his professional activities in due course. He is looking forward to his reinstatement and his remunerations outstanding to be paid to him,” he added.

There are reports that the monies owing to Francique, who was suspended with half pay after the criminal charges were laid against him, now runs in the region of $90, 000.00 over a 5-year period.

THE NEW TODAY understands that officials from the Ministry of Education had found a range of homosexual porn on one (1) of the computers at the school.

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