BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT – Accused rapist Samuel Russell admitted that a 15-year-old girl was in his bedroom on one occasion, but said he did not have sex with her then, or at any other time in 2011.
Russell, 44, of Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, is on trial in the Supreme Court. He is charged with five counts of having sex with a minor between the ages of 14 and 16.
It is alleged that between January and April 2011, the accused had sex and performed sexual acts on the victim once a week at his home.
The case opened on Monday before Senior Justice Hartman Longley. The victim, a police investigator, and the doctor who examined the victim, gave evidence on day-one.
On Tuesday, Russell took the stand in his defence. He told the court that the victim came over to his house and sat on his bed. “She came over to say ‘Hi.’ She came in the room, sit on the bed, and I went outside,” he said.
Russell is a 44-year-old single man with no children. He said he does not have a “steady” girlfriend and has no interest in children.
He denied touching the victim inappropriately or having sex with her.
According to the prosecution’s evidence, when the girl moved to Green Turtle Cay at age 12, Russell befriended her, buying her soda and giving her money.
Russell, who lived next door, would invite the victim over to his house to watch pornographic films, it is claimed.
He is accused of touching her inappropriately, performing sex acts with her, then giving her $20 and sending her home.
The victim also claims Russell bought her a cell phone so he could contact her.
In her evidence, she stated that they would have sex once a week, and each time Russell would give her money.
The victim said when she became tired of it and wanted to stop, Russell threatened that he would tell what she had done.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Olivia Blatch suggested to Russell that he offered the victim things and money to keep quiet.
“You lured her in, you wanted to bribe her, you bought her a cellular phone, and you gave her money,” the prosecutor said. Although Russell denied giving the teen money, he admitted to buying a phone in April.
“I bought it and gave it to her and told her it was for her mother,” he said.
Asked by his attorney Carlson Shurland whether he has a girlfriend, Russell said he does not have a steady girlfriend, but has male friends.
Mr Shurland, in closing, told the jury of six men, three women that there is no evidence that his client had sex with the victim.
“There is no physical or trace DNA evidence,” he said. “It all boils down to who is telling the truth and who is lying.
“It is easy to make a charge of unlawful sex, but difficult to disprove it. Because someone says it happens does not mean it has,” he said.
Mr Shurland claimed the victim made no complaint for two years, until her father discovered the cell phone and pressured her.
Prosecutor Ms Blatch noted that a doctor’s evidence confirms the victim’s hymen was not intact. She also indicated that Officer Minnis, a police investigator, conducted an interview in which the accused admitted that the victim was in his room lying on his bed, and that he gave her a cellular phone.
The trial resumes on Wednesday.