By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SUPREME Court jury yesterday unanimously acquitted a police officer of the statutory rape of an underage girl.
The jury returned their 9-0 not guilty verdict on the unlawful sexual intercourse charge less than an hour after being excused by Justice Vera Watkins to determine whether 48-year-old Jason Cambridge sexually assaulted a then 13-year-old girl in the third and/or fourth week of July 2010.
Cambridge’s lawyer, Romona Farquharson-Seymour, told the jurors that the prosecution’s case against her client was based solely on the words of a 17-year-old who was 13 at the time of the alleged offence.
Cambridge denied committing unlawful sexual intercourse with the complainant on two occasions.
The complainant was the daughter of a woman he had a relationship with at the time.
The complainant testified in the trial that the first incident occurred at night while she was asleep. She claimed she was wakened by Cambridge.
She claimed that the second incident happened in the front room while she was up late watching television. She told a friend what had transpired on August 1, 2010.
Cambridge denied any involvement with the complainant, whom he had known for four years.
During closing addresses yesterday, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour told the jurors that while the crown produced nine witnesses, “at the end of the day, their case rests and falls with the complainant.”
“There’s no physical evidence. There are no witnesses. There is only her words,” she submitted.
Mrs Farquharson-Seymour said it was strange that the complainant didn’t make a sound during the first alleged incident and did not tell her mother.
The lawyer also noted that when the friend told the complainant’s mother about the alleged molestation, the complainant said her friend was lying.
The lawyer asked the jury to bear in mind that the complainant never, in her testimony, claimed to be afraid of Cambridge, but “she was afraid of her mother.”
She also noted the physician’s evidence that there was no tenderness or abrasion when she examined the 13-year-old, who said that she was “ok” when asked.
“All you have,” Mrs Farquharson-Seymour said, “are the words of the complainant, nothing more.”
Prosecutor Koschina Marshall acknowledged the complainant’s initial resistance to confirm her friend’s report to her mother about the alleged molestation. However, she recalled the words of the complainant when she gave her testimony.
“At 13, I was weak and defenceless. At 17, I have courage and I have confidence,” the prosecutor said, adding that “the uniqueness of the words tell us the state of her mind at the time the alleged offences were committed.”
Ms Marshall reminded the jurors that sexual molestation “is a very dark secret.”
She further dismissed the defence’s suggestion that the Crown’s key witness was inconsistent with her claims of being molested.
“We know that she’s consistent. There was a confrontation between the complainant, with a relative and the defendant in the presence of police. She explained what happened to her and he (Cambridge) denied the allegation. Four years later, she still maintains that it is was this man,” the prosecutor said, pointing at the accused.