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Alleged blackmail victim regularly updated defendant, court told

A young woman who was allegedly blackmailed into making child pornography said she regularly updated and sought advice from the man now accused of the offence.

The witness told the Supreme Court that she regularly messaged the defendant on Facebook about the situation she found herself in, after she received threats from a self-proclaimed hacker.

However, a lawyer for the defendant suggested that her client had no idea that she had responded to the blackmailer because while the witness messaged three different Facebook accounts with the defendant’s name, only one of the accounts was actually his.

The witness responded said that she and a friend had also spoken to the defendant about the claims in person, the court was told.

“There were many times that myself and my friend would come to him and tell him about what was going on, what we were asked to do and whether we had completed these tasks that had been given to us,” she said.

She added: “I may not be able to pinpoint exactly what was said or when things were said, but I can say that he knew. The entire time, he was updated whether that was in-person or online.”

The defendant, from St George’s, has denied a string of offences including extortion, making child pornography, accessing child pornography and distributing child pornography.

Neither he nor the claimants in the case can be identified for legal reasons.

Earlier this week, the court heard evidence from the witness that in late March or early April, she was contacted by someone on Facebook who claimed they had accessed nude images of her from her phone and threatened to release them.

The witness, who was under the age of 16 at the time, said that while one friend had told her to ignore the message, the defendant had told her that if nude images of her were released it would prevent her from pursuing a career in music.

She said she gave in to the blackmailer’s demands by sending him sexual images videos for several months before she stopped responding.

Not long after she cut communications with the blackmailer, she said the materials were spread online.

Under cross-examination, the witness accepted that during the blackmail period the defendant did suggest blocking the blackmailer, but described the suggestion as “flippant” in the circumstances.

Elizabeth Christopher, counsel for the defendant, suggested that he had made the comments because he did not know the witness had already sent material to the blackmailer.

The witness responded: “I can say with utmost certainty that he knew.”

While Ms Christopher said the witness could not definitively say that the Facebook conversations she had about the blackmail were with the defendant, she said: “It was a well-known fact that he had multiple accounts.

“He would call and send voice notes. I know what his voice sounds like.”

Ms Christopher suggested that the defendant became aware of the extent of the blackmail scheme only during a conversation in June 2015.

During that conversation, the witness said she tried to warn the defendant about the blackmailer, stating that the blackmailer had sent her images of other people she knew, including the defendant himself.

The witness accepted that the defendant would say one thing online and another thing in person, but denied that it should have caused her to consider if she was messaging the person she knew.

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