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Sex assault conviction appeal rejected by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man who sexually assaulted a 15-year-old schoolgirl almost 20 years ago.

Jamel Simons, 38, had admitted that he had sex with the child – but argued that he should not have been convicted of sexual assault.

But Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said yesterday in a written judgment that the evidence supported the victim’s claim that he had used force on her after she changed her mind about sexual contact with Simons.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said: “This complainant’s evidence of force is consistent with her evidence that she frantically stormed out of the appellant’s residence after the intercourse occurred.

“The appellant’s evidence was that she was upset because she had just been raped. She was also angry at her girlfriend for not having come to her rescue.”

She added that the victim’s story of “agony and anger” was corroborated by the evidence of her friend, who said she was “crying” and “upset to the point of shaking” after the attack.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said: “The Crown’s case that the appellant used physical force to commit the sexual act was strong and I see no reason why the learned magistrate ought to have formed any other conclusion from these facts.”

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

At the time she was 15 and he had not long turned 19.

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

She and Simons were left alone in his bedroom inside a few minutes of arrival.

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 for him to stop.

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

He told the magistrate 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”.

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

Paul Wilson, who appeared for Simons, said there was no evidence to support the victim’s claim that she had screamed or done anything to make him believe she did not want him to continue.

But Karen King, for the Crown, said it was not in dispute that loud music was playing in the house, which would have prevented anyone else hearing what happened inside the room.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said in her judgment there was also uncontested evidence about the long-term effects of the attack on the girl.

She added: “This aspect of the Crown’s case is supported by the complainant’s unchallenged evidence of her open hostility against the appellant in the years which proceeded, to the point of refusing to allow the appellant to service her vehicle at the gas station …”

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said: “The complainant’s evidence was that sight of the appellant was so upsetting to her that she even vomited on one occasion when she saw him years later.

“That continuing pain and anger was corroborated by the evidence of the complainant’s current spouse.”

Mrs Justice Subair Williams ruled that the conviction was safe and dismissed the appeal.

The case was adjourned and referred back to Magistrates’ Court for sentence.

Simons was remanded in custody.

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.