Closing arguments in sex assault case – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Comments in sex assault case were not intrusive, says lawyer

A lawyer for a 62-year-old man charged with sexual assault and intrusion on a woman told a court yesterday that the comments he was alleged to have made could not be considered offensive.

Elizabeth Christopher said that the evidence against her client, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not meet the standard required to be intrusive.

She told Magistrates’ Court: “Our position is that the court will be required to determine whether or not the defendant had said anything that was intended to, or that did, offend.

“There’s no specific evidence that she was offended – my learned friend in her statement refers to the word ’uncomfortable’, which is not the same thing.”

The man, from Sandys, pleaded not guilty to an intrusion on a woman aged 20 at the time of the alleged incident and a sex assault on her.

He was alleged to have made lewd comments and grabbed her buttocks on August 22, 2018 while they were at her home in Sandys.

Ms Christopher said in her closing statement that the intrusion was supposed to create anger, annoyance or disgust to be considered offensive.

But she insisted that “none of those sentiments were portrayed in the evidence of the complainant”.

Ms Christopher said that her client, who was alleged to have commented on the “see-through” skirt that the alleged victim was said to have been wearing, did so to give advice.

She added he had also suggested that she wear additional clothing underneath.

Ms Christopher said that her client had also turned away from the woman when he made the observation and that the woman did not dispute that.

Ms Christopher said that her client was of previous good character.

She added he had been said by the alleged victim, who also cannot be identified, to be a “father figure”.

Ms Christopher: “You have to ask yourself whether or not it is likely that he would engage in this behaviour, firstly and secondly whether or not we accept what he’s saying is criminal.”

The court heard that defendant had been using medical cannabis and CBD oil to cope with the pain of recent surgery and that he had been “high” during the time of the alleged incident.

Ms Christopher said that had, because of the pain from the operation, her client was not in a position to have any sexual intentions.

She added that the alleged comments might have been in “poor taste” but they were not offensive from a legal standpoint.

Ms Christopher said: “I would say that this intoxication would probably make him say things he would not have said normally, but what he did say wasn’t criminal.”

Shauntae Simons, for the Crown, did not read her closing statement in open court.

Magistrate Craig Attridge adjourned the case until February 22.

The trial continues.

•It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.