Closing addresses will be delivered by both the prosecution and defense when the trial resumes at the High Court of Justice this morning. A seven woman, two man jury will consider whether the accused man is guilty of assaulting a 15-year-old.
According to the information disclosed during the trial, the incident occurred on March 21, 2009 at about 10:15 p.m. while the complainant was at a birthday party for the daughter of the accused man. The party was held upstairs while the alleged incident occurred downstairs.
According to witnesses who testified on behalf of the prosecution, the complainant reported that the incident occurred when she went to bring a container of food down to her aunt’s car. On her way back upstairs, the accused man allegedly led her to a dark area under the house and put his hand in her pants and his finger into her vagina.
The complainant had testified on Wednesday that the defendant asked her if she was up for a challenge before allegedly committing the act. “I did not respond,” the complainant told the court.
“He then pushed me against the wall. Then he put his hand in my pants and his finger in my vagina. I then pulled away from him and told him to leave me alone. Then he told me if I wanted we could go somewhere else. I said no, and I went back upstairs,” she testified.
The doctor who examined the complainant following the incident told the court that the hymen was in place and there was no visible damage to the vagina.
The investigating officer WPC P. Dupigny stated yesterday under cross examination by defense lawyer David Bruney that the scene of the alleged incident had been tampered with.
She made the statement on Monday during a court visit to the alleged crime scene. She noted that during investigations, the complainant had pointed to a door which she had found hidden behind a lattice attached to a column when she visited the house.
Yesterday, Dupigny said that the column was now narrower and the lattice and the door had been removed. The lattice was found resting against a table on the floor.
Under cross examination, State Lawyer Wayne Norde asked the accused man whether he had paid for the “fresh” cement work where the alleged door was replaced at the scene of the crime. The accused said no.
“You know about that fresh construction job at [owner of the house’s name] house? Did you pay for it? You know where the door is now?”
The accused answered no to all questions.
Norde also had the opportunity to ask the owner of the building who insisted that the cement work was done last June, the same time he took the lattice out.
Meanwhile, the accused man maintained his innocence in the matter. He said that the entire situation was a story which was “made up” against him. He admitted that he was drinking on the night in question, but told the court that he was not drunk or ‘tipsy’.
He said that he had gone downstairs four times to smoke four cigarettes at different times at the party and never met the complainant downstairs. He said that each trip downstairs took about four minutes.
The accused said that he had no problem whatsoever with the complainant and her family and noted that they were a well-respected family.
Two other witnesses presented evidence for the defense case. One of the accused man’s female friends testified that she was on the verandah upstairs for most of the night with the accused and a few friends. The witness said that she never saw the accused man go downstairs while she was at the party from about eight p.m.
The other witness, also a longtime friend of the accused who was present at the party, said that he had stayed on the verandah for the majority of the night since he had parked his vehicle which was obstructing any vehicle leaving the yard and he knew he would be called upon to move at some point.
He said that remained in that position for at least one hour and a half. According to him, at about 10 p.m. he saw the complainant downstairs with a tray in her hand.
“I immediately looked down because my vehicle obstructed the vehicle that she placed the tray into…she returned upstairs in the space of two minutes… Shortly after she (complainant) exited with her aunt and two younger children…,” the witness testified.
Dominica News Online will continue provide updates on this trial as soon as they become available.