Man sentenced to life in prison without parole for raping woman at knifepoint

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Julius Branker

Julius Branker, 46, who was unanimously found guilty last month by a jury of raping a 28-year-old woman at knifepoint, has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Justice Navindra Singh handed down the sentence on Monday at the Demerara High Court.

On February 15, 2014, Branker, a father of three, broke into the woman’s home in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) and sexually penetrated her without her consent.

In his defence presented by lawyer Adrian Thomspon, Branker held out that he did not rape the woman. State Counsel Marisa Edwards presented the prosecution’s case.

This was Branker’s second trial for the sexual offence.

In 2018, a jury unanimously determined that Branker had raped the same woman.  He was given a sentence of 40 years in jail with a 35-year parole eligibility period by trial Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall. However, that conviction was quashed in December 2022 by the Court of Appeal of Guyana, which found, among other things, that Branker had received an unfair trial.

The court had agreed with Branker’s contention that there were issues with the identification evidence and that the trial Judge had failed to adequately put his defence to the jury.

The Court of Appeal, in quashing his conviction, ordered that he be retried for the offence.

It was the prosecution’s case that on the day in question, the woman was in her home sleeping when, at around 04:00h, she was awakened by noise coming from the television.

As a result, she ventured into the living room, switched off the television, and went back to take a nap. Shortly after, she was awakened by a man standing at her bedside, and she began screaming. The man, in demanding that she “shut up”, threatened to “bore her” with a knife.

The individual, who was later identified as Branker, then pushed his hands into the woman’s pajamas and had intercourse with her against her will in full view of her young child.

After committing the act, Branker made good his escape, and the victim sought help from neighbours. She was taken to the Police Station, and then to the hospital, to be examined.Branker was subsequently arrested after the woman had identified him as the perpetrator.