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Man cleared of serious sexual assault

A man walked free from the first day of his Supreme Court trial after the case against him collapsed.

The accused had denied aggravated burglary on October 19, 2021, entering a senior couple’s property in Smith’s while armed with a knife.

He also denied robbing the male occupant of cash and ATM cards, and committing a serious sexual assault on the woman.

Neither the victim nor the accused can be identified for legal reasons.

However, the woman described seeing her assailant’s face after his mask slipped during the assault.

Questioned by Marc Daniels for the defence, she insisted that it was not the same person as the man in the dock.

She told the court: “This has bothered me since this morning.”

She apologised to the accused before leaving the stand.

Prosecutor Adley Duncan told Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons that in light of the complainant’s evidence under cross-examination, it would be impossible to invite a jury to find the defendant guilty.

Mrs Justice Simmons ordered a verdict of not guilty on all counts.

The woman, as first witness for the prosecution, recounted the circumstances of a home invasion in which the couple were threatened and robbed, and she was sexually assaulted.

She told the jury: “Whatever decision you come to at the end of this, I just want to say the injury done to me is lasting.”

She said she would probably have difficulty walking and require physiotherapy for the rest of her life.

Earlier, she described her shock after two men dressed in black, one with a knife, appeared in their home with helmets and visors, wearing black masks and gloves.

She said the couple had lived in the area for decades, had no cause to fear robbery, and were in the habit of leaving their back door open to air out the house.

She said she heard male voices that morning in the front room and, “in a scene I had never expected to come upon”, found her husband confronting two intruders.

“I said, ‘You guys have got to be kidding — we are hard-working Bermudians surrounded by millionaires’.”

The men’s voices were muffled by their masks, but the shorter man was demanding that they “give us your numbers”.

Her husband ended up shoved to the floor after attempting to tackle one of the men, and was cut on the forehead after the two beat him.

Her husband was “absolutely incapacitated” when they used his waistband to tie his ankles.

They were both threatened with a knife.

She said she was able to find an expired credit card as well as a debit card, but the men told her the number on the back of the card was incorrect.

The taller man, standing over her husband, had armed himself with a golf club.

The woman described her panic as she tried to find her new credit card, while the shorter man pulled her into the back bedroom and began rifling through dresser drawers.

He then grabbed her breasts and “repeatedly put his hands around my throat”, threatening to strangle her.

She told the court it was done to her several times.

The woman said she was taken to the bathroom and feared she would be tortured when the man attempted to fill the tub.

However, he left the room when the water kept draining out, and smashed his way back in after she closed and locked the door.

She fell and was injured after the man pulled her by the arm, then took her back out front to her husband.

She managed to find the new credit card and thought the two would leave now that “they had what they came for”.

Instead, the shorter man pulled her back into the bedroom, molested her with more threats of strangulation, forced her to undress, then pushed her on the bed and forced her legs apart with sufficient force to tear her thigh muscles and damage her hip joints.

She said she was screaming, adding: “What he was doing to me was far beyond the limitations of human suffering.”

She said the extent of her internal bleeding was discovered only after nine days in hospital.

She described the “torture” of being sexually assaulted three times with a flashlight, during which time her assailant’s mask slipped, showing part of his face.

She was able to put on clothing and tell the two men back in the front room that the card had a $5,000 limit on it.

The taller man left with the card after threatening them with a knife, saying: “If I don’t get money, I am going to come back and take care of you.”

The woman described discovering a large knife from the kitchen on the bureau in the bedroom when the other man took them both into the back.

“I thought, ‘Do I have enough strength to charge him?’ By that time I was livid at what he had done to me.”

She decided it was too risky and gave her husband the knife, but their assailant “absolutely exploded” when he discovered it missing and beat her husband until it was handed back.

The woman said she “blanked out” sitting next to her husband, but perhaps a half-hour later he told her the two were gone and the police were on their way.

She told Mr Duncan: “It had to be a minimum of two hours they were with us.”

Questioned by Mr Daniels, the woman told the court the face she had seen during the attack did not match that of the accused.

“That’s where the whole controversy comes from. I do not think that it is him.”

Mrs Justice Simmons ordered verdicts of not guilty and told the accused the indictments had “fallen away”, adding: “You are free to go.”

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