By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
PROCEEDINGS have been discontinued against a man awaiting trial concerning the alleged sexual assault of a mentally handicapped teenager in 2002.
The move by the Crown on Wednesday came more than seven years after 45-year-old Gary Applise was formally arraigned in the Supreme Court on a rape charge concerning the November 30, 2002 incident.
The alleged victim, who was 15 at the time, is now 29.
Applise’s case had begun in Magistrate’s Court as a preliminary inquiry until the matter was transferred to the Supreme Court in March 2009 where he pleaded not guilty to the crime.
When the matter was called on Wednesday for a status hearing by Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs, prosecutor Rosaelee Ferguson presented the nolle prosequi (no prosecution order).
The Office of the Attorney General, by law, could bring the case against him again at any time in the Supreme Court, but it is unlikely.
In a status hearing in July of this year, Applise, who had been on bail, could not be found and this remained the case at Wednesday’s follow-up hearing.
A conviction for rape carries upward to life imprisonment.