By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
DR GERALD Forbes was described as “a wolf disguised in sheep clothing” by the prosecution during closing arguments in the Supreme Court in Grand Bahama on Friday.
“We must expose him,” Erica Kemp told the jury of four women and five men. “This is a case where a trusted healer breached the trust of his patient/employee,” she said, referring to the alleged indecent assault and rape of a 20-year-old woman at his clinic in February and March, 2015.
Osman Johnson, Dr Forbes’ lawyer, on the other hand, described the 46-year-old doctor as a man who is being “robbed” of his career and a medical practice he has worked to build because of lies concocted by the virtual complainant.
“I can’t imagine the nightmare the doctor is going through,” he said. “His career is finished, his medical practice is finished and he is broke and destitute.”
The jury first heard from Mr Johnson, who delivered a fiery and lengthy closing address. He noted that the two charges against his client are very serious, and that Dr Forbes is under no obligation to prove his innocence. The doctor, he said, is innocent until proven guilty and that the burden is on the prosecution to provide evidence in support of what is being alleged.
It is alleged that in February, 2015, while at his Carico Medical Clinic, Dr Forbes rubbed the complainant’s vagina and masturbated while performing a physical exam, and that in March he allegedly had sex with the woman without her consent while performing a medical abortion procedure.
On March 16, Dr Forbes was arrested at his clinic in the Professional Plaza on Pioneer Way.
Mr Johnson delivered a fiery and lengthy closing address, noting the seriousness of the two charges and arguing that there is no evidence in support of the charges. There is no DNA or forensic evidence, no corroboration by any medical reports or witness statements that the complainant was raped and indecently assaulted, he said.
He noted that the matter is one of ‘I say, you say’ and comes down to one single verbal allegation, on which it is not enough to condemn someone. The lawyer indicated that there was no semen found, no eyewitness, and that a medical report from a doctor had indicated that the complainant suffered no injuries.
Mr Johnson claimed that it is unbelievable that the incidents are alleged to have happened in the middle of the day in a medical office that is open to the public, and with other businesses next door in the same building. He also noted that the complainant did not contact the police immediately after the alleged incident in February, and waited two weeks after the second incident in March before reporting it.
“Would a reasonable woman do what she did … and stay in the office. She ran out in the street and returned to work. And then three weeks after that put yourself in a position to be with the doctor again alone, naked from the waist down?” Mr Johnson asked the jury. He claimed that the complainant and her boyfriend lied under oath and are seeking the destruction of Dr Forbes.
Dr Forbes denied the charges. He testified that, in February, he and complainant left the clinic because business was slow and went to a bar. After that, they got some marijuana and went to his home where they drank rum, smoked and had consensual sex. He also claimed that when the complainant discovered that she was pregnant she tried to terminate the pregnancy by inserting abortion pills into her vagina.
In her closing address to the jurors, Prosecutor Kemp said while they accepted that there is no forensic evidence or corroboration, the case is one based on credibility, about who is telling the truth. “There is no forensic evidence. We are not running from that, but that does not prove rape,” she said. She noted that a rape does not have to be a vicious attack. She said that Dr Francisco testified that she did not expect to see bruises or lacerations on the complainant.
Mrs Kemp said that there is no corroborating evidence because the complainant said that only she and the doctor were there at the time. “There is a wolf among us disguised in sheep clothing,” she said. Mrs Kemp also said the complainant, who was the mother of a young infant at the time, and her boyfriend, were unemployed.
She said that the complainant was required to have a physical when she was hired to work at the clinic and the doctor told her he could do it for her. While examining the complainant, Mrs Kemp said the doctor indecently assaulted her and masturbated.
“The complainant felt that something was not right. And as it got worse and the rubbing continued, she jumped up and sees the trusted doctor has his penis out his pants and stroking his penis. She ran to the bathroom and he knocks on the door. She opens it and he holds her on the shoulder and tells her, ‘I am an old man it won’t take me long to bust, just stand there and let me finish’. He continued masturbating and ejaculated on the floor,” Mrs Kemp said.
Mrs Kemp told jurors that the complainant and her boyfriend were broke and had a child to feed. “You know … employment opportunities are few and far between. She had a mouth to feed. When you are a mother there are things you would endure,” she said.
She said that sometimes people of 19 or 20 are not yet mature and make the stupidest judgments in the world. “Young people make the some of the stupidest decisions and judgments and then when you are older you look back and say what was I thinking,” she said.
The prosecutor said the doctor and the complainant were the only ones at the office during work hours. The two people supposedly employed at the clinic - Jumelia Mathieu, a janitress who opened the clinic around 7am, and returned again around 5.20pm to clean and close and Alonzo Pinder, the supposed officer manager, who was in and out of the office and who did not even know the complainant’s name - were hardly there, Mrs Kemp said.
The trial will resume on Monday when Justice Estelle Gray Evans will give closing summation.