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Former office manager takes stand and denies molesting teen

A former office manager charged with repeatedly molesting an employee took to the stand in his own defence yesterday, insisting he'd “never ever sexually assaulted” the much younger man.

Mr Y told Magistrates' Court the charges against him were “incorrect” and he was shocked that Mr X, the complainant, made the allegations after he'd personally given him a lot of help.

The defendant's lawyer Shade Subair asked him: “Have you ever engaged in any sexual activity with Mr [X]?”

He replied: “No.”

Mr Y is on trial accused of eight counts of sexual assault between February 15 and June 11, 2009. He denies all the charges and neither he nor his accuser can be identified for legal reasons.

The trial was previously adjourned in March after Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo dismissed two of the ten original counts against Mr Y.

It resumed yesterday, when Ms Subair opened the defence by asking the former office manager what he now did for a living and whether he'd ever been convicted of a criminal offence.

Her 59-year-old client said he worked in the hospitality industry and had never been convicted of any crime.

Ms Subair asked him to describe when he first met Mr X and what happened during the meeting.

Mr Y said a member of his staff introduced them in January 2009, soon after Mr X, then aged 19, was released from prison.

“Mr [X] said that he was homeless. Mr [X] said that he didn't have any family support. Mr [X] indicated that his mother was on drugs and, hence, they were not getting on. Mr [X] also indicated that there was no relationship of sorts between him and his father.”

The defendant described how Mr X got a job in the office where he was general manager and said he dealt with any issues regarding the young man's conduct, though didn't supervise him directly.

He said Mr X never accused him of sexual assault throughout the time they worked together.

Ms Subair quizzed him about where he was on February 15, 2009, the date of the first alleged attack.

Mr X, now aged 22, previously gave evidence that his boss sexually assaulted him that day at the accommodation where he was staying, after helping him move there.

The defendant said he spent the day, a Sunday, doing paperwork in the office and sent a number of e-mails to his staff. Those e-mails were produced in court and tendered as the first defence exhibit.

He said he did not go to the place where his employee was staying that day but did drive him there on a different day, because he lived in a nearby parish.

He said they had an “excellent rapport” and he left after some “polite conversation” about Mr X's plans for the day.

The defence lawyer then questioned him about February 19, the date of the second alleged assault.

Mr X claimed he was molested in his boss' office after bringing him lunch but Mr Y said that was “not true”.

He said he had a two-and-a-half hour lunch meeting at Tio Pepe in Southampton that day. A copy of his electronic diary for the day was tendered as defence exhibit two.

Mr Y told the court that though his accuser would often go out to pick up lunch for staff, the two of them never ate the food together in his office.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, Ms Subair said it would not be inappropriate for her to discuss the evidence with Mr Y while he remained under oath, as he was undergoing examination-in-chief, rather than cross-examination.

Crown counsel Nicole Smith objected, causing Ms Subair to say her client should not have to suffer due to the “ignorance” of the prosecutor.

Mr Tokunbo ordered her to apologise for the remark and told Mr Y not to discuss his evidence with anyone, including his lawyer. Ms Subair asked to have the issue addressed again at the next hearing on September 6.

The defendant was bailed until that date.

Lawyer Shade Subair

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Published August 19, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 19, 2011 at 9:31 am)

Former office manager takes stand and denies molesting teen

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