By Nico Scavella
Tribune Staff Reporter
A POLICE officer yesterday testified how former Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade’s claims of illegal immigrants performing “exotic” acts at a bar set in motion the events that ultimately led to the arrest of a Jamaican woman who alleges she was raped by a senior immigration officer.
Superintendent Adrian Curry said he was acting on Mr Greenslade’s instructions when he led the raid on December 13, 2014 that led to him arresting Claudia Edwards Bethel, who later ended up in the custody of Norman Bastian, the man she claims raped her.
However, the officer admitted that Mrs Bethel was not dressed in “skimpy” clothing when he arrested her, in contrast to the other women he observed wearing skimpy underwear, and who were more in line with Mr Greenslade’s instructions about “exotic dancers”.
Nonetheless, he said, the Jamaican woman was still arrested on “suspicion” of breach of the Immigration Act. He said his “suspicion” was further confirmed upon his observations at the bar.
What happened next he saw Mrs Bethel being turned over to immigration officials and detained at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre (CRDC) for a stint, and later released into Mr Bastian’s custody for “continuing investigation” on December 15, 2014.
She claims she was eventually taken to his house, and raped twice between December 15 and 16, 2014, with Mr Bastian using a condom in the latter incident. She said he also made her perform oral sex on him on two occasions.
Supt Curry’s testimony came in Ms Bethel’s civil suit against the government over the alleged incident, years after the rape case against Mr Bastian was tossed out of the Magistrate’s Court. Mr Bastian has denied the rape and maintains the sex was consensual.
To that end, and in response to questions put to him by Mrs Bethel’s attorney Fred Smith, QC, Supt Curry said it would not be appropriate for him, as a policeman, to have sexual intercourse with a female prisoner in his custody.
He also agreed with suggestions that he would not have a female prisoner in his exclusive custody, for obvious reasons.
Before Supt Curry’s testimony, however, Mr Bastian’s attorney, Wayne Munroe, QC, as well as Crown attorney, Rasheed Edgecombe, said that Mrs Bethel has what was suggested is a popular stripper name: “Lexy”.
Meanwhile, Crown prosecutor Rasheed Edgecombe accused Mrs Bethel’s estranged husband, Mario Philip Bethel, of marrying her for convenience and as a way for her to gain residency in The Bahamas.
According to Mrs Bethel’s evidence, she first arrived in The Bahamas in 2010, and in February of that year, she said she got married to Mr Bethel, who was a manager at Charms Club where she worked as a waitress.
Taking the witness stand yesterday, however, Mr Bethel said he met her about a year before their marriage date.
Nonetheless, Mr Edgecombe said that if Mrs Bethel’s evidence concerning when she first arrived in The Bahamas and subsequently married Mr Bethel is to be accepted, the short period of time in between the two events would suggest a marriage of convenience.
The case continues today.