A 55-year-old Pentecostal pastor was yesterday convicted of the carnal abuse of a 13-year-old girl.
Paul Hanniford was found guilty by a seven member jury in the in the Home Circuit Court.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says the jurors came to their verdict after deliberating for an hour and 20 minutes.
The in-camera trial ended after testimonies from the victim who’s now 15 years old, and her then five-year-old brother who witnessed the incident at the pastor’s home in 2015.
Prosecutors led evidence that Hanniford took the two children to his house under the pretence that they were going for a “drive out”.
According to the prosecution, the pastor gave the 5-year-old boy cornflakes and put him around a dining table.
The 13-year-old girl told the pastor that she wanted to use the bathroom and Hanniford accompanied her.
The court heard that he later removed her from the bathroom, took her to a bedroom and assaulted her.
Prosecutors say, on hearing his sister crying, her brother rushed to the room and saw the pastor assaulting his sister.
Hanniford later returned the children to their mother at his church.
When he was reunited with their mother, the boy made several attempts to tell her about the attack in the presence of the pastor but was shut down by the minister.
However, on an fourth attempt, the boy blurted out an account of what happened.
The child’s mother reported the matter to the police after she was dissatisfied with the response of church elders to her disclosure.
Hanniford is to be sentenced on February 24.