By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE mother of a 14-year-old boy who has accused a Grand Bahama man of unlawful sex said her son's "bubbly" behaviour changed in late 2016 when the alleged assault began.
The alleged teenage victimin the unlawful sex trial of Fred Williams also gave testimony before a Supreme Court jury yesterday morning. However, as the minor entered the witness box, the prosecution requested he be allowed to give evidence in camera - without anyone present in the public gallery.
Senior Justice Estelle Gray Evans granted the request and the courtroom was cleared. Only the nine jurors, the attorneys and the accused remained in the court.
Williams - who is on bail - is charged with having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor of the same sex between October and November 2016, through February 2017 and November 2017. He was arrested and charged with the offence on December 11, 2017.
When she took the witness stand, the boy's mother told the court she noticed her son's attitude had changed in late 2016.
According to the mother, the boy was a "happy and bubbly" teen who became withdrawn. "He became quiet and spent more time to himself," she testified.
The mother said that on November 30, 2016 she received a telephone call at work from the mother of her son's best friend and became concerned. After leaving work at 4pm, she called her older son and told him to pick up his brother from track practice and bring him home.
When the boys got home, her older son handed her a white paper and she asked her son - the alleged victim - to come and see her in the bedroom.
"I was sitting on the bed with the paper in my hand and asked him if he needed to tell me something, and he pointed at the letter. I began to read it, but I did not finish," she said.
The mother said the older son started to speak to his brother whose emotional response made her sick to her stomach and caused her to bolt from the room.
"His response came so emotional to me at the time I could not stay in the bedroom; I ran out the room and screamed," she said.
She said she became ill to her stomach and started vomiting in the bathroom.
After she was able to compose herself, she said she called her friend and police officer Corey Rolle who came to the house and they gave him certain information. She said Officer Rolle then escorted them to the police station where they gave a statement.
They then went to the Rand Memorial Hospital where her son was examined by a doctor and later met with a social worker at the hospital.
Prosecutor Erica Kemp asked the witness if she knew her son to keep friends older than he was, and she replied, "No".
During cross-examination, the accused's attorney Carlson Shurland asked the boy's mother if she had read what was on the paper. "Not fully," she replied. When pressed further by Mr Shurland about the letter, she said the letter had no date on it and she could not say when it was written.
Mr Shurland asked her i f she had mentioned that she noticed a change in her son's behaviour in her statement to police. She said that she did not mention it in the statement.
He asked: "Did the change in his behaviour affect his grades?"
The boy's mother replied yes.
Mr Shurland asked the witness when she left the hospital if anything was physically wrong with her son, to which she said no.
The lawyer then asked the witness whether her son had seen a psychologist. She responded that her son saw a counsellor/social worker at the hospital.
Mr Shurland asked: "As a loving mother were you concerned about what was in the report?" The witness said that she was concerned but she was not given a report from the social worker.
"You never told police he saw a counsellor?" Mr Shurland asked. "No, sir," she said.
"He goes to hospital for an exam, it leads to a mental evaluation and you never told police?"
"No, sir," the witness repeated.
Mr Shurland asked the witness if she knew Williams. She said she did not know the accused.
He then asked: "You tell the police you don't know Fred? How you know Fred was a friend of your son?"
"I was told that by one of my kids," she replied.
When questioned about her relationship with Officer Rolle, she said he was a friend so she called him and he took them to the police station.
The trial continues.