By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A MAN accused of sexually molesting his teenage daughter was acquitted yesterday after the girl withdrew her complaint against him.
The 18-year-old was the first of 13 witnesses prosecutor Darell Taylor intended to call concerning an alleged sexual assault in a Family Island settlement on November 26, 2012.
It was the Crown’s case that the man had violated the girl on two occasions that evening when three of his other children were at home.
His wife was reportedly in the capital giving birth to his fifth child.
Before the prosecutor could begin her examination into the day in question, the girl said: “I want to withdraw this case.”
“I just can’t go through with it,” the nine-member jury heard from the complainant.
Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs excused the jury for a few moments before adjourning the matter for ten minutes.
Following the recess, the prosecutor recalled the complainant to the stand.
“Is there any specific reasons you don’t want to proceed?” the prosecutor asked.
“I just don’t want to do it. I can’t,” the girl said.
“Why not?” the prosecutor probed.
“I closed that chapter of my life and I don’t want to open it back up,” the complainant replied.
“Has anyone coerced you into withdrawing your complaint?” the prosecutor asked.
“Not at all,” the teen said.
“Has anyone offered you any money?” the prosecutor asked.
The girl, again, said no and also denied being threatened to withdraw the complaint.
“M’lord, in light of the circumstances, the Crown offers no further evidence,” the prosecutor said.
The jury, as a result, acquitted the girl’s father of the incest charge.
Senior Justice Isaacs told the man he was free to leave.
When asked for her reaction to the last-minute withdrawal, Ms Taylor told The Tribune: “It’s not an unusual occurrence.”
“We find that it happens sometimes when the matter takes so long to come before the court for whatever reason.
“This one hasn’t been delayed for very long, some two years if you compare how long other cases take. But she’s indicated to the court that she’s moved on and given the nature of the offence, perhaps it’s a matter of getting cold feet at the last minute in front of a court.”
“And so, those are often the challenges we face. Had we known earlier, perhaps we could have done something different because there are so many matters before the court that could’ve used this particular calendar spot.”
“We had another matter that was set for today but because this case was on stream as the principal matter, we went with this. That could’ve gone off had we known earlier. So time could’ve been saved,” the prosecutor added.
Ms Taylor, however, would not speak to the costs incurred by the government for the airfare and accommodations of the 12 remaining witnesses who were all based on the Family Island where the alleged incident occurred.
The defendant was represented by attorney Devard Francis.