August 2016

Man sentenced to ten years in jail for indecent assaults on child

A 36-year-old father-of-three was imprisoned yesterday for two indecent assaults on a child – crimes which were described as “very serious and cruel offences which must have been terrifying for the victim.”

The Royal Court heard that Jose Avelino Cabral Da Costa tied up and blindfolded the child before performing sexual acts with her, between eight and 11 years ago.

The Royal Court yesterday heard he admitted two counts of indecent assault, the first committed between June 2005 and February 2006 and the second between February 2007 and October 2008. 

Da Costa, who required the use of a translator in court, had been convicted of three offences of child cruelty in 2008 and in May of this year admitted two counts of indecent assault.

In delivering his sentence, Commissioner Sir Michael Birt said: “The two counts in our view were very serious and cruel offences which must have been terrifying for the victim. The court is firmly of the view that the sentences passed must reflect society’s condemnation of such behaviour. The sentences are as follows: nine years and four months imprisonment and 10 years imprisonment, these to be run concurrently, making a total of ten years imprisonment in all.”

Da Costa showed no reaction when he was handed down his sentence. 

Attorney General Robert MacRae told the court on Monday the child was subjected to two serious indecent assaults which involved the minor being tied up and blindfolded, using clothing. 

Mr MacRae said the child cried after both assaults and recommended to the court a prison sentence of at least 12 years.

Venezuelan-born Da Costa moved to Jersey in 1998, having previously lived in Madeira, a move which allowed him to qualify for a Portuguese passport.   

Defending Advocate Michael Haines yesterday said there were a number of mitigating factors behind Da Costa’s behaviour. 

He said: “There are features which reduce the gravity of the offences. There was no grooming in this case. There were no inducements offered. There were no instructions for the child to do something. There were two incidents and they are not specimen counts. The defendant did not make threats to the complainant at the time of the offending. There were a limited number of incidents over a short period of time. The defendant has not sought to minimise his offending. 

“The appropriate sentence in the defence’s opinion is one of between five and six years and to be placed on the Sexual Offenders’ Register for six years. 

“He accepts unequivocally the harm he has caused to the victim and that it was wrong. There is no excuse or justification for his behaviour. He offers in court a public apology to her for the wrong behaviour he committed. 

“In 2008 he was ordered to complete community service and a two-year probation order. Both orders were successfully completed. We know he has not re-offended. He committed those offences in 2008 and has already embarked on the road towards rehabilitation. He has an excellent employment record since moving to Jersey.

“The defence’s case is that a period of imprisonment of between five to six years is consistent with all the case law.”     

Commissioner Sir Michael Birt said Da Costa will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 15 years from the date of his conviction in May. He also placed a restraining order on the defendant of 15 years, during which time he would only be allowed restricted and supervised access to anyone under 16.  

Commissioner Sir Michael Birt added: “The court has decided by a majority of 4-2 not to recommend deportation given the fact that the defendant has made his home in the Island for 18 years.”