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Woman Charged With Sexual Assault 'To Submit Alibi'

Karine Gagne at a previous court appearance.

Karine Gagne at a previous court appearance.

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A FRENCH-Canadian woman accused of sexually assaulting a minor said on Friday that she would submit an alibi to the Office of the Attorney General within 21 days.

Karine Gagne, 23, of Quebec, Canada, returned before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt for a voluntary bill of indictment (VBI) presentation that would fast track her case to the Supreme Court for trial concerning the unlawful sexual intercourse charge she is facing.

That concerns an alleged incident on January 5 at Great Sturrup Cay with a 15-year-old boy, who cannot legally give consent to have sexual intercourse.

Gagne has been charged under Section 11(1)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act, Chapter 99 which reads: β€œAny person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with any person being of or above 14 years of age and under 16 years of age, whether with or without the consent of the person with whom he had unlawful sexual intercourse is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for life.”

Section four of the Act notes that sexual intercourse includes β€œ(a) sexual connection occasioned by any degree of penetration of the vagina of any person or anus of any person, or by the stimulation of the vulva of any person or anus of any person, by or with - (i) any part of the body of another person; or (ii) any object used by another person, except where the penetration or stimulation is carried out for proper medical purposes; and (b) sexual connection occasioned by the introduction of any part of the penis of any person into the mouth of another person, and any reference in this Act to the act of having sexual intercourse includes a reference to any stage or continuation of that act.”

The accused was told at her first court appearance last month that she would not be allowed to enter a plea until she is formally arraigned before a judge of the Supreme Court when the matter is forwarded to the higher court.

On Friday afternoon, with the aid of an interpreter, the chief magistrate informed Gagne of the contents of the VBI and her right to enter an alibi in court or in 21 days to the Office of the Attorney General.

However, it took a number of explanations and examples before she understood what was being asked of her.

Gagne chose the latter and is now scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court on March 3 before Senior Justice Bernard Turner at 10am to receive a date for trial.

She will be allowed to enter a plea to the sexual assault charge in her Supreme Court appearance next month and is represented by attorney Lisa Bostwick-Dean.

She remains on remand at the Department of Correctional Services until her next court appearance.

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