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Judgment reserved in appeal against sex attack conviction

A magistrate was right to convict a man of the sexual assault of a schoolgirl, a lawyer for the Crown told the Supreme Court yesterday.

The lawyer was speaking after Jamel Simons, 38, who was found guilty earlier this year of forcing himself on a 15-year-old when he was 19, launched an appeal against his conviction.

Simons claimed in the Supreme Court that magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo had made the wrong call and the evidence did not support a guilty verdict.

But Karen King, for the Crown, said on Monday the magistrate was right to find Simons had not been honest about the incident after he had heard all the evidence.

Ms King said Mr Tokunbo was able to hear testimony from the victim – who cannot be named for legal reasons – and Simons.

She added a friend of the victim told the court the victim was “between emotional and angry” in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

The court also heard evidence from the victim’s partner, who said the victim became a “shell of a person” after a chance encounter with Simons about ten years ago.

Magistrates’ Court earlier heard that Simons had conversations with the girl in 2002 before they agreed to meet on an unknown day in April that year.

The girl and a friend – another schoolgirl – skipped classes and went to the Warwick home where Simons lived with his mother.

She and Simons were left alone in his bedroom within a few minutes of arrival at the house.

The victim told the court that after kissing and consensual touching, Simons pinned her arms down and forced himself on her and that she had screamed.

Simons admitted that he had sex with the girl, but insisted it was consensual.

He told the court that he had nerve damage, which meant he could not have held her arms down and denied that she had ever screamed or pushed him away.

But Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo ruled the victim was “straightforward, frank and clear” in her evidence, but that Simons was “not entirely honest”.

He found Simons guilty, but Simons launched an appeal before he could be sentenced.

Paul Wilson, the counsel for Simons, said there was no evidence to support the victim’s claim that she had screamed.

But Ms King said there was no dispute that loud music was being played when the attack happened.

She added that the victim may have gone to Simons’ bedroom willingly and may have been interested in some sexual contact with him, but that she had changed her mind.

Ms King said: “Given her inexperience, she might not have realised how it was dangerous and what it would lead to.

“That is where the consent was withdrawn, when she realised that to continue meant doing something she wasn’t ready to do or didn’t want to do.”

Ms King said the Crown led with a charge of sexual assault because of the force involved, but that the incident would still be an offence even if there was no physical force used.

She said: “At the end of the day, she was 15. By virtue of her age, she couldn’t consent.”

Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams reserved judgment on the case.

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