A man convicted of sexually touching a young boy has been sentenced to spend two years behind bars and has been placed on the sex offenders list.
Ismaila Darrell, from Warwick, was found guilty of sexual exploitation in 2021 after a trial in Magistrates’ Court, with magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo finding that he had touched the child on at least three occasions between September 2016 and September 2018.
At the time of the offences the victim – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – was between 8 and 10 years old, while the defendant was in his early thirties.
Mr Tokunbo said last week that Darrell was trusted by the child’s family, and the young victim was forced to relive the trauma of the experience by testifying in court.
“It occurred at least on three separate occasions,” he said. “You maintained your innocence and expressed no remorse for the damage you caused.
“You were seen by the child and his family as an uncle or godfather. You violated that trust.”
It was said that the victim was friends with Darrell’s nephew, and had spent the night at the house where the family lived several times.
The boy said he initially slept upstairs in the house with his friend, but was later told to stay in Darrell’s room downstairs because he would wet the bed.
He said that Darrell had touched him several times when they shared a bed before the victim had a health class that discussed “good parts and bad parts” and he told the defendant not to touch him again.
Darrell denied that he had ever touched the child sexually, although he told the court that on two occasions he did awake to find the boy in his bed.
He told the court that he had never told or encouraged the child to stay in his room and was “irritated” to find him there.
Asked why the victim would lie, Darrell told the court: “He is lying on me – to please his parents.
“It makes sense him lying if he tells her [the complainant’s mother] what she wants to know cause [because] he don’t want to see her stressed.”
Mr Tokunbo found Darrell guilty of sexual exploitation in 2021, saying the child’s evidence had been clear and consistent despite his youth and extensive cross-examination.
Darrell launched an appeal in the Supreme Court before he could be sentenced for the offence, however the court upheld the verdict and found the defendant’s suggestion that the child lied to appease his mother “implausible”.
While the conviction was Darrell’s first, he has since been found guilty of sexual offences against another young male. That case remains before the courts as he has launched an appeal against that conviction in the Supreme Court.
Appeal against sexual offence conviction
Ismaila Darrell was found guilty last year of sexual offences against another young male, but has launched an appeal against his conviction.
Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo found Darrell guilty of three counts of sexual assault on December 22, 2022.
The offences reportedly took place between February 2019 and April 2019, at which time the victim was under the age of 16.
The victim told the court that he knew Darrell through his family and that the defendant, whom he chatted with through WhatsApp, had bought him clothes and shoes.
He told the court that the defendant sexually touched him on three separate occasions while he was in the defendant’s bedroom.
He told the court that the incidents left him feeling “absolutely horrible” and “in a weird head space”.
Counsel for Darrell argued that the story was a “pack of lies”, noting inconsistencies between his statement on the stand and interviews with police.
Darrell himself said the victim had contacted him asking for cannabis, food, headphones and clothing, and that he had given him some things out of the “goodness of his heart”.
He claimed the victim had never been inside his bedroom and that he had a medical condition which rendered the allegations “physically impossible”.
However, Mr Tokunbo said the victim was a “bright and articulate young man” who stuck by his story despite forceful cross examination.
“The evidence he gave the court was not easy for him, but clearly, as he himself said, he has had time to think about what happened and has grown to articulating it when he finally arrived in the courtroom,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said Darrell was not a credible witness and rejected his evidence.
“This case eventually comes down to the credibility of the witnesses, in particular the young complainant and the defendant,” Mr Tokunbo said.
“I have clearly indicated that I accept and find the complainant’s evidence as credible and reject the defendant’s as being unworthy of belief.
“In my judgment, each and all of the acts described by the complainant on the three specified occasions amount to acts of a sexual nature, such that the complainant’s sexual integrity was violated.”
While Mr Tokunbo found Darrell guilty of all three charges, the defendant launched an appeal against his conviction before he could be sentenced.
No date has been set for the Supreme Court to hear the appeal.
Delivering his sentence, Mr Tokunbo said in the circumstances of the case a prison sentence was inescapable, but because it was his first offence he needed to sentence him as such.
“This court has to deal with you for this offence and this offence alone, and as a first-time offender,” he said.
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