Webster denies video evidence

| 13/06/2017 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Former firefighter, Errington Webster (55), flatly denied masturbating in the presence of a 13-year-old girl, despite the video evidence, when he took the witness stand Monday to defend himself against allegations of indecent assault and gross indecency. When asked about the incident of sexual abuse, the one-time political hopeful said, “It’s not true …no such thing ever happened in my conscious mind …I would never do such a nefarious act in the presence of a child.” At the beginning of the trial the jury were shown the video in which Webster is filmed playing with his penis in the car and speaking with the girl who he is charged with assaulting.

But as he began giving his evidence, Webster claimed to have no memory of the incident. Insisting that he did not remember, he claimed that a combination of medication and grapefruit juice on that day had some kind of impact on him, which he struggled to explain, but said his wife thought he was intoxicated in some way. He claimed to have felt a pain and passed out, and refused to accept that he committed the act clearly depicted on the 25-second video.

The authenticity of the video, which is aadmissible evidence, was not directly challenged by Webster’s attorney, Steve McField, after a police expert testified. The intelligence analyst from the RCIPS  confirmed that when the video was extracted from the girl’s phone, there was a shorter copy of the original video but there was no evidence to suggest that the original 25 seconds filmed in June last year had been edited or doctored.

The child has said that he sexually assaulted her on three other occasions in the first half of 2016 in both his car and his daughter’s bedroom in Webster’s family home Asked about these incidents, he again flatly denied the allegations. “God forbid. That is not true. Nothing like that ever happened,” he told the jury under oath.

Webster claimed that he was tutoring and counselling the child because of problems and traumas that she had suffered. He kept describing her home as a “toxic environment” and that the family did not go to church. He said he was trying to “defuse the ticking time bomb”, which was her mind. He said that in the 1990’s he had taken a three-week counselling course as part of his work as firefighter to counsel people following traumatic events.

Despite having no teaching, psychology or other relevant professional qualifications, he said he had detected that the child was “suffering from acute emotional mental stress” and he intervened to help her. Webster claimed that part of his “strategy to defuse the ticking time bomb” was to build up her self-esteem, which was why he bought her clothes and paid for her hair to be done, as well as giving her what he admitted amounted to over a $1,000.

He said that the WhatsApp messages between him and the teenager, in which he said she was “his girl” and that he loved her, were “like a daddy thing” and he was a Christian, so this had nothing to do with sexual love.

Although Webster told the police he did not communicate that often with the girl, during cross-examination the crown pointed out that there were some 1,140 messages between the two of them in a one-month period. He also admitted messaging her day and night, including at 4am, even though she was a 13-year-old child going to school.

But he said this was out of concern for her well-being because he believed she was traumatized. Webster, who lives very close to the girl, told the court that he would message if he heard her screaming or carrying on being “vexed with the whole world”. He said she would post pictures of knives dripping blood on her WhatsApp status, all of which were claims he made for the first time on the stand and allegations never put to the girl when she gave evidence.

Asked again about the video by crown prosecutor Darlene Oko, Webster accepted that “the person in the video appears to be me” and eventually accepted that the child on the video also appeared to be the complainant in the case. But he still struggled to accept the evidence.

The trial continues. 

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Category: Courts, Crime

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