By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Court of Appeal has overturned a man’s conviction for attempted unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl seven years ago.
The appellate court quashed Lamar Young’s 10-year sentence concerning the alleged incident that was said to have taken place between August and December 2012.
Appellate Justice Sir Michael Barnett said the reason for the acquittal was because the sentencing judge was “manifestly wrong” to have suggested to the jury that a doctor’s evidence corroborated the girl’s claim that Young tried to penetrate her vaginally.
To the contrary, Sir Michael and his fellow appellate judges said there was no evidence, much less that of the doctor, which corroborated that claim or the allegation that Young did in fact penetrate the child at one point as asserted by the Crown.
The Crown’s case was that sometime between August and December 2012, Young had unlawful sexual intercourse with the child, and also unsuccessfully attempted to have unlawful sex with her during that same time frame.
The girl told the court that on one occasion when she was 13 years old, Young told her brothers to go outside and told her to stay inside. Afterwards, she said he instructed her to take off her clothes, which she did. She said he then molested her before telling her to put her clothes back on, which she did.
She also told the court that on another occasion Young instructed her to perform a sex act on him, which she did. She said she didn’t want to do it, but Young forced her to by threatening to kill her mother and brothers if she didn’t. The girl claimed that after she performed the act, Young took off her clothes and his pants and attempted to rape her.
The girl claimed that on that occasion, she was on a bed and tried to push him off her but couldn’t.
The girl also spoke of a third incident of alleged sexual assault, which she claimed took place at another location.
The following morning, after returning from work the girl’s mother told her daughter that she had a dream, and asked her if at any point in time had anyone bothered with her that made her feel uncomfortable. On the first two occasions when the mother asked that question, the girl replied “no”. The third time, however, the girl revealed that Young had molested her. Afterwards, the girl’s mother took her to the police station where statements were taken from them both.
The girl was also taken to a clinic to be examined by a doctor on January 9, 2013. The doctor determined that the girl had a partially perforated hymen, which could have been caused by penile or digital penetration, or when she fell while sitting on a bench in a park causing her to sustain an injury to her vagina. The girl told the court during trial that she was about 12 years old when that occurred.
However, the doctor’s report noted that no abrasions, lacerations, contusions, bruising, tenderness, bleeding, discharge, semen, bite marks, scratches nor torn material were found.
Young, meanwhile, denied ever having sex with the girl, or engaging in any inappropriate acts with her. He claimed he had worked 23 hours a week at the time of the alleged incident. He further claimed that the girl’s mother was unemployed and he was hardly, if ever, alone with her. Additionally, Young’s employer gave evidence stating that Young was at work on the final alleged occasion.
On June 9, 2015, a jury acquitted Young of the unlawful sexual intercourse charge, but convicted him of the attempted unlawful sexual intercourse charge. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment a little over a month later.
Young, via his attorney Christina Galanos, appealed his conviction, chiefly on the ground that the trial judge erred when she failed to tell the jurors that there was no corroboration in his case, thus leaving the option open to the jury of finding that there was corroboration. Sir Michael also noted that it was a “somewhat surprising” fact that the jury, despite acquitting Young of the unlawful sexual intercourse charge, still accepted the girl’s evidence that on at least one of the two occasions Young penetrated her.
“The verdict of guilty on the offence of ‘attempted unlawful sexual intercourse’ and acquittal on the offence of ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ suggests that the jury accepted the evidence of the (virtual complainant) on the attempted unlawful sexual intercourse but not the unlawful sexual intercourse because the judge directed that there was some evidence capable of corroboration of the offence of ‘attempted unlawful sexual intercourse’, but not that of the unlawful sexual intercourse itself,” Sir Michael said.
“As there was in fact no evidence that corroborated either offence, any reliance on the doctor’s evidence as amounting to corroboration makes the verdict unsafe.
“It is for the reason of the direction given by the trial judge on corroboration that I would allow the appeal and set aside the conviction for attempted unlawful sexual intercourse.”