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Cruise ship worker denies sexual assault

A 26-year-old cruise ship worker became pregnant after being sexually assaulted by a co-worker on board a Bermuda-registered ship, a court heard.

In the witness stand, the 41-year-old man, brought by police from Miami to Bermuda last month to face the charge, insisted their December 28 sexual encounter had been consensual. He denies sexual assault.

Neither party can be named for legal reasons. Both are Filipino nationals who worked on the same vessel.

At the opening of the Magistrates' Court trial, the court heard from the woman, who flew in from the Philippines to testify, that she met the accused on the night of his birthday earlier in December.

She said she had called him “kuya”, a common Filipino term roughly equivalent to “older brother”.

Questioned by Crown counsel Susan Mulligan, the woman testified that on the night of December 27, crew members had gathered for a karaoke party in the ship's staff bar, after which a group had briefly socialised in a cabin room.

On returning to her own quarters, the woman said she had noticed the accused following her, and that he came in as she opened her door, making no reply when she asked what he wanted. She told the court that he sat in a chair while she sat on her bed, and that for a while they watched TV, but that when she asked him to leave he didn't answer.

“I asked him the same question again, and he asked if I was going to change my clothes. At that time I was uncomfortable.”

She said she remained clothed and got into bed, covering herself with a duvet and asking the man to leave because she needed to sleep.

The woman sobbed as she described the older man getting on top of her, trying to kiss her, and then holding her by the wrists after she asked him to stop, and having sex with her until she pulled a leg free and kneed him in the side. She said he then apologised and left.

Under questioning by Kenrick James, representing the accused, she described learning on January 18 that she was pregnant.

Mr James said: “You called the defendant and spoke to him, but did not tell him the reason for your call. You invited him to come to your room, and you showed him the result of your pregnancy test.”

She said: “I didn't show it to him. I threw it in his face.”

She told Mr James that she is no longer carrying the child.

Invited by Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner to take the stand, the accused testified through a translator that he and the woman had been singing together on the night of his birthday, that he often supplied her with food, and that she had frequently complained to him about her boyfriend, a nurse on board the ship, whom she felt was avoiding her.

He said that in the early hours of December 28, they had been watching TV together in her room: “We had eye contact,” he told the court. “That's when I approached and gave her a kiss, and she responded by kissing me back.”

He said he had “started romancing her”, after which they had consensual sex.

Upon being told on January 18 that the woman was pregnant, he asked her what she wanted him to do, to which she replied: “You come up with a solution.”

He said he had offered to take care of her if she had the baby but that she wished to terminate the pregnancy.

He then said he had no further contact with her until January 20, when he was contacted by ship security, after which Bermuda police became involved.

The defendant's bail of $5,000 has been extended until then.

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Published March 14, 2011 at 10:02 am (Updated March 14, 2011 at 10:01 am)

Cruise ship worker denies sexual assault

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