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Man tells court that sex assault did not happen

Magistrates’ Court (File photo)

A 36-year-old man on trial for sexually assaulting a woman said yesterday the alleged attack never took place.

Crown counsel Javone Rogers told Magistrates’ Court that on May 6, 2018 the man yanked the woman’s pants down, pushed her onto a bed and told her words to the effect of: “If you are just going to give it to everyone else, I might as well just take it.”

Mr Rogers said: “This is in the context of a woman naked from the waist down to the knees, with the defendant on top of her.”

The woman gave evidence to the court on Tuesday, telling Magistrate Craig Attridge: “He yanked my pants down real fast and hard … it was all fast in one go.”

She added: “Because my pants were down, they were like shackles on my legs and so when he pushed me back, my legs were held by my pants.

“From the top of my legs past my knees, they were open. He yanked, pushed and was in between, on top of me.”

The man, giving evidence in his own defence, described the prosecution account as “incorrect”.

He said a defence statement filed with the court on his behalf by his former lawyer Charles Richardson was also wrong.

In the defence statement, the man agreed that he pushed the woman onto the bed and later pushed her to the floor during a “minor scuffle” for her mobile phone.

But under cross-examination by Mr Rogers, he said there was no incident involving the bed.

He said the pair tussled over the phone and both ended up on the floor, but he did not push the woman.

“I never signed that … or agreed to that,” he said of the defence statement.

He said the statement was prepared by his previous lawyer who “had no interest in the case”.

Mr Rogers asked: “Your old counsel just drafted this up on a whim?”

The man said he did not know a statement was submitted to the court and accused Mr Richardson of a “lack of application” in relation to the case and of letting it “linger on for years”.

Mr Rogers suggested the reason there was a difference between the defence statement and the account given by the man on the witness box was because he was lying.

“No,” replied the man, who denies sexual assault and common assault against the woman.

Liz Christopher, for the defendant, said the woman’s account of what happened in the bedroom was “not the facts of what transpired” but that even if her evidence was accepted, it did not amount to a sexual assault.

“This is a case where the court can’t assume, even on the complainant’s evidence, that what was done was for sexual purposes,” she said.

Ms Christopher added that the tussle for the phone was not an unlawful assault.

The trial heard that though the alleged assaults were reported by the woman to police on May 8, 2018, the defendant was not interviewed and arrested until March 2019.

Detective Sergeant Sharnita Tankard, a witness for the prosecution, told the court she investigated the matter and sent a report to the Department of Public Prosecutions before questioning the defendant.

The officer said she was told charges would not be brought but then later got a call from the DPP’s office to say she should arrest the man.

Ms Christopher asked her if it was usually the case that defendants were interviewed before files were sent to the DPP.

“Yes,” replied Ms Tankard.

Mr Attridge said he would deliver his judgment on July 19 and released the defendant on bail.

The Royal Gazettereported in March that the case had taken three years and more than 20 court hearings to come to trial.

Neither the defendant nor the complainant can be named for legal reasons.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.