KINGSTON, Jamaica – A 55-year-old pastor, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail last week after he was found guilty of having sex with a minor two years ago, has announced plans to appeal the conviction.
Attorney Lyndel Wellesley said his client, Reverend Paul Hanniford of the Pentecostal City Mission Church, has since filed a notice of the appeal.
Wellesley has confirmed that Hanniford, who was found guilty by a seven-member jury on January 24 and sentenced by Justice Lorna Shelly Williams last Friday, will be challenging his sentence on the basis that it is excessive.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) said the complainant, who is now 15 years old, testified in court that on March 12, 2015, she and her five-year-old brother went to the church for choir practice and after the rehearsal they asked the pastor for a ride.
But the Home Court was told that the child, who was a member of the Pentecostal City Mission Church and was baptised by Hanniford was taken to the pastor’s home in Kingston.
“The pastor gave the five-year-old some cornflakes to eat. The complainant requested the use of the bathroom and while there in the bathroom the pastor entered. The complainant was pushed by the pastor outside the bathroom onto a bed that was inside a nearby bedroom and sexually assaulted her,” the ODPP said in the statement.
In his defence at the trial, the pastor denied having sexual intercourse with the complainant and said that he had given the children a drive out but not on the day in question.