Happier times: Joshua Crockwell was dating reality TV star Natalie Nunn last August when this photo was taken. *Photo by WENN/Spalsh News
Happier times: Joshua Crockwell was dating reality TV star Natalie Nunn last August when this photo was taken. *Photo by WENN/Spalsh News

FRIDAY, MAY 11: A trainee firefighter is set to be booted out of the service after he was convicted of sexually exploiting a young girl.

A spokeswoman for the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service declined to comment yesterday.

But the Bermuda Sun understands that, like the police service, any firefighter convicted of a criminal offence is liable to internal disciplinary proceedings, with dismissal an option available for serious offences.

Coalition for the Protection of Children chief Sheelagh Cooper last night said: “I think dismissal would be an appropriate mark of public disapproval.

“By not showing strong disapproval there in effect condoning this — I’m sure a respected public institution like the Fire Service, they wouldn’t want to be seen to be doing that.”

The news came after Joshua Crockwell walked free from court after being given a suspended sentence of 15 months, suspended for two years, after being found guilty at trial last year of sexual exploitation of the 12-year-old.

If he does not commit another offence within the two years, he will escape jail time. He will also be on probation for two years.

The light sentence sparked fury, with an online petition calling for the sacking of presiding Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo.

Crockwell was found guilty of trying to get the girl to perform a sex act on him on two occasions.

The court heard that Crockwell, then 20, became friends with the child and exchanged text messages with her.

In June, 2010, he arranged to meet her and asked her to perform a sex act.

Mr Tokunbo told Crockwell, now 22, on Tuesday: “I think it was a learning experience for you. By all indications, you were otherwise a decent young man.

“I don’t think you preyed on her or pursued her as such. You were old enough to understand she was off limits.”

Mr Tokunbo added: “I have taken into consideration the fact that the legislators consider this to be a very serious offence and that young girls have to be protected from men who would prey on them.”

Tokunbo

Mr Tokunbo also refused to accept a victim impact statement from the prosecution, insisting it had been presented too late in the proceedings.

Ms Cooper said: “The sentencing was manifestly inadequate — but what is most disturbing is the reasoning behind it.

“It was extremely archaic and misogynistic and I don’t think the Magistrate should remain on the bench.

“I would support the online petition to have him removed.”

The girl — who had to go through the ordeal of giving evidence in court due to Crockwell’s not guilty plea — cannot be named for legal reasons.

In other jurisdictions, discounted sentences are sometimes given in return for guilty pleas, which avoid victims having to give evidence.

But if a victim does have to appear in court and the defendant is found guilty, sentences are usually higher.

Ms Cooper also called for the repeal of legislation guaranteeing anonymity to alleged sex offenders until they were convicted.

She said: “If you are accused of murder, your name is out there. Although I respect the principle that everyone is innocent until proved to be guilty, those accused of sexual crimes should be no different from anyone else.”

The Bermuda Sun yesterday asked Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field why the victim impact statement had been presented late and if a decision had been made on whether to lodge an appeal, but he did not respond.