Sex abuse case collapses as witness ‘can’t cope’

| 08/07/2019 | 49 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Islands courts

(CNS): A George Town man was found not guilty of rape after the case against him collapsed Monday, after the alleged victim could no longer cope with testifying. The woman, who said she stood by the accusations that her step-brother had raped and sexually abused her on several occasions from when she was six years old until she was 15, gave a statement to the court saying giving evidence was making her ill and causing flashbacks.

During the course of the trial, which was being heard by a judge alone, the victim, who is now in her twenties, had also recalled an occasion when her step-brother and his friends had raped her when she was around 11 years old at their home in Windsor Park.

But the court also heard that despite reporting the case to social workers and eventually the police, the case had stalled, with detectives at the RCIPS Family Support Unit appearing to drop the ball. The case was picked up in a review but the victim had to be re-interviewed to address a number of shortcomings with the original investigation. After that the case made it to court some five years after the allegations were reported to police.

But when called to give evidence, the witness had struggled. Under cross-examination by her step-brother’s attorney about times, dates and the rooms where the rapes allegedly took place, and challenged about the truthfulness of the allegations, she became emotional on a number of occasions.

The case was adjourned at the end of June for a number of reasons, including the woman’s own health. It resumed Monday but when she returned to the witness box for further cross-examination she became distressed and very unwell.

The woman then submitted a statement to the court explaining that while she stood by the allegations against her step-brother, testifying had just become too difficult for her. Recalling the events was causing her significant problems and making her physically ill, she said, and as a result she was unable to answer more questions about what had happened to her.

With no significant corroborating evidence and only the woman’s interviews and testimony supporting the case against the defendant, the crown said it was not able to continue. The prosecutor representing the crown said that given the circumstances, she could not ask the court to press on without the witness. As a result the 28-year-old defendant was acquitted.

The court heard that he was facing unrelated charges in the Summary Court, so, having been on remand, he was taken back into custody until his attorney could secure a bail hearing now that he had been cleared of the serious allegations of rape.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (49)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Probably better than a child being sexually abused.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So effectively the defense attorney continued the abuse in court…must be very proud.

    • Anonymous says:

      The job of a defence attorney is to defend their client as best as possible. This sometimes may include foregoing niceties and comforting the victim. What should be more appalling here is the previous shortcomings made by the police who were negligent by stalling the investigation and having her to go through trial years after the abuse.

  3. Jotnar says:

    Charges were not brought until 5 years after the original allegation was made? Even if she was capable of going on, defence would have a field day with whether their clients got a fair trial with that degree of delay. There should be an investigation into RCIPS handing of this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The court has a duty to protect both parties, in this case it had to go to the accused , this is the part most people don’t understand about the court system, it’s about evidence not emotions , many times the judges believe the victims of crimes but if the evidence is not there everything falls apart

  5. George Towner says:

    Just saying 🤔

    I don’t see why the Court couldn’t arranged for her to testify by “video conference” if she was so negatively influenced facing the accused in person?

    • Anonymous says:

      She still has to answer the lawyer

      • George Towner says:

        Yea but at least she won’t have to see the face of her attacker (a relative).

        Come on. Think. Could it be she is intimidated by him looking at her? He has threatened her already from a tender age.

        I would have thought the Court would have seen the psychological effects of a witness having to see her abuser, which has not only abused her once, but for a prolong period of time.


        • Anonymous says:

          This is the norm. This is why women don’t come forward. You have to face them again, usually you’re not believed, and then they get a slap on the wrist even if they are convicted. My friend had to change her identity and move across a country to get away from her rapist stalker. He is free to show up any day at her door and she has to live with the fear because the system is broken.

      • Anonymous says:

        He wasn’t cleared of all charges. She just couldn’t go on with the trial due to the stress. Sad, someone failed her and should be held accountable. Need I say more “Social Services, RCIPS”.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The case is truly tragic but so would be a conviction without evidence.

    Surely the answer is to educate all young children about what is never acceptable behaviour and provide an easy, safe, supportive route to tell someone immediately, so evidence can be collected. If all children knew what was ‘normal’ it would make it very difficult for parents/siblings to suppress them.

  7. Anonymous says:

    How would you feel if 5 years later someone said you robbed a bank, with no evidence but anecdotal stories?

    • Anonymous says:

      Probably better than the one who got robbed…

    • anonymous says:

      It takes a lot of courage to withstand the social ostracism that comes with reporting childhood sexual exploitation. That is why so few cases are reported and why it continues to occur in our society with impunity.

      In so many cases, even family members label victims as liars and troublemakers.

      I know whereof I speak, as a repeat victim of childhood sexual abuse from a very young age through to the age of 14. Even after that I had to rebuff male aggressors — some in positions of power. You would be shocked.

      If I reported today, it would be worse!

      It does indeed take a lot of courage.

      I hope that this young lady will get the professional support she needs and that she will ultimately be able to find peace and put her life together.

      It won’t be easy — I still feel that a lot of my underlying anger and other emotional issues are due to these several cases of exploitation.

      God bless you young lady — you have been quite courageous. I assure you that many out in the public do believe you — because a large number of us have been through the same thing. Take care of yourself.

      • Anonymous says:

        so question…

        if this was done to you, why not report it?

        just curious

        • Anonymous says:

          @12:48 pm- she DID report it!!

          “But the court also heard that despite reporting the case to social workers and eventually the police, the case had stalled, with detectives at the RCIPS Family Support Unit appearing to drop the ball.

          So victims report it and they drop the ball. It’s a shame, the system is broken and has failed this poor woman, again and again! No wonder victims tend to stay quiet– and people like you, with your “why not report it?” judgements don’t make it any easier.

          • Anonymous says:

            i was asking a genuine sincere question, wasn’t passing any judgements. not everyone one that comments on CNS is judgemental towards others and unsympathetic to their struggles.

            like i said, i was simply curious. i truly appreciate being edified.


        • Anonymous says:

          Can tell immediately this question comes from a man. (12:48pm)
          If you cannot comprehend 8:41am’s comment nor the article about the young girl, there is no way you would understand the answer to that question.
          I too was sexually assaulted (Not sure why it isn’t just called what it is, RAPE) when I was 15. I never told anyone until I was in my 20’s.
          No men do not understand or he wouldn’t have raped me in the first place. He would not take no for an answer. Did not believe that I really meant no, even through my tears. (no means no means no. I said no).

        • Anonymous says:

          I was a child. Didn’t trust the adults to respond appropriately or had fears that I would create awful trouble in the family.

          Second, our society is only in recent decades treating these as crimes. I didn’t know when I was a child that these were crimes. I knew they were wrong but not the extent.

          As I grew into adulthood, I considered how close family members would suffer if I did expose what had happened—that is if they would even believe me.

          That is essentially what has happened to woman in court.

          That is why she could not go through with it. When your own mother doesn’t believe you, that is enormous pressure.

          I known of one young lady who confided in a counselor in high school and when social services came in she clammed up. They did nothing because they said the last time they went to a parent who had been accused by a child they were so aggressively rebuffed that they would never get involved again.

          I doubt that today’s social workers would take that position, but that is some of what earlier generations were faced with.

          As we see today, the victims are still being blamed.

          Based on my experiences I believe that the cases we see in court are the tip of iceberg.

          And by the way, the court cannot be condemned for ending the case. They had no Choice. Most of these cases are a matter of who you believe and when the victim withdraws there is not a lot more that can be done.

          I bet that in her case it was not just the pressure of the defense lawyer and the exposure in court but the daily emotional pain she had to endure from attitudes and accusations from various quarters.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would feel confident in being acquitted in a court of law. Provided I didn’t actually do it of course…

  8. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately this is the case with any accusation. Evidence, this evidence was lacking and the accused is currently free. I hope that this lady can get the help she needs so that she can one day, confidently stand to testify against this scum. Until then there’s not much we can do unfortunately because without evidence who can we stand to believe?

    While I fully believe this case to be true and wholeheartedly believe the accused get what’s coming to him there’s other cases where women can falsely accuse a male of rape/abuse that can destroy his life despite no circumstantial evidence. if we set a precedent to find the man in scenario to be guilty of his crimes without evidence, it gives other men/women the ability to use this and misuse this to randomly accuse others of rape and abuse.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hoping that she gets help is not enough. Is there assistance available to the victims of rape in this country? She is ruined for life, physically and mentally. She needs more than simple counseling.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately having been tried once and acquitted, even if she feels able at later date to stand up to cross examination, they cant be prosecuted twice for the same crime. The Scottish legal system has an alternative verdict called not proven, where you are not convicted but not acquitted either, and can be retried if new evidence comes to light. Not here though.

  9. Rodney A. Barnett says:

    Well, as others have said, “Only In Cayman”. Unfortunately that really isnt the case, because courts arond the world make individuals who are victims of sex crimes repeat in distinct detail, what exactly happened.

    What a joke. I wonder how many adults could remember such details 5 years later; let alone a scared child.

    Where is the CHURCH on this, and why is it not protesting these things, rather than attacking to loving adults who want to get married?

    • Anonymous says:

      Some of the Churches are involved in the abuse….all in the name of the good lord of course. Sick effers.

      • Anonymous says:

        if you have the evidence present it and report those individuals. if you don’t you’re just as guilty.

    • Anonymous says:

      when the church does good, people criticize
      when the church does bad, people criticize
      so easy to single out the church

      since you care so much about this issue, why aren’t you out there protesting? have you reported persons that have done such heinous acts to women and children? I’m sure you know a few.

      just curious. not throwing hate or anything like that

  10. Anonymous says:

    RCIPS – those that are not inept are corrupt.

    Useless bunch.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Are you sure that what you have printed is correct? In our jurisdiction the Crown would offer a nolle prosequi. This is NOT an acquittal so the case may be brought back before the court and the accused re-tried when the witness is able to give evidence.

    CNS Note: The trial was already underway and given that it was the witness’ decision that she could no longer carry on the crown made no application to continue the trial as might have been the case if there was other evidence. The woman had already given her evidence in chief but it was under the period of cross examination that she became unwell. As a result the crown confirmed it would be unfair to attempt to continue against the defendant and as the case had already opened and the evidence aired the judge directed a not guilty verdict acquitting him.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately it is easy to criticize the actors in the justice system after the fact, but this case is one of the worst I have read about, anywhere. This case sets a terrible precedent. If the Crown just decides not to continue and then the court directs a verdict of not guilty, autrefois acquit applies, ie “double jeopardy” and he cannot ever be retried for these offences. This is not a result anyone would expect from a modern justice system. She could also have been questioned by video conferencing as referenced above. I hope that there is a restorative system which can offer her support in the coming weeks/years.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is horrifying. This scum bag is free and she is probably going to get harassed by him after all this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    OMG. Only in Cayman. How can this ne allowd to happen. This is the most appaling news i have heard in a long time. I HAVE TO WONDER WHO THIS DISGUSTING CREEP IS. Obviously he has a lot of friends in high places. One thing for sure you B@##/%* you will not escape God’s plan. I pray this young lady will recover from these awful acts against her, and all those who help him walk never get another good nights sleep.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the case couldn’t hold water. The timing of the allegations always seemed fishy to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      As bad as it is if he walked away while guilty, I don’t want to live in a country where I can be accused of a crime and charged for it purely on anecdotal evidence years after the fact.

      Go on and downvote me.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not anecdotal evidence. It is victim testimony. What kind of evidence is enough? Witneses, like they require in muslim countries?!

        • Anonymous says:

          Say you and I were close friends for years but got into some sort of petty disagreement and parted ways.

          Now, years later, you decide to be extra petty and seek revenge by slandering my name with a rape accusation.

          Is the judge to lock an innocent man like me up simply because you told them a story about something that may or may not have happened in 2015?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is SO revolting. The failures of ALL involved that were told about it at the time should be charged with neglect and child endangerment. As well, you should all be ashamed of yourselves.
    I hope Karma isn’t too rough on you.
    To the young lady, my heart goes out to you. I hope you are getting the counseling you need. This will affect you the rest of your life.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Omg you poor soul. May god bless you for the rest of your life

  17. Anonymous says:

    How sad. Hopefully she’ll get the obvious and necessary counselling she needs, if she hasn’t yet received same. better late than never. Sad for her and also that the creep will get off scott free!

    • Anonymous says:

      So sad, what a pity. I wish it was possible to charge her father with the crime. I read where he acknowledged to her that he knew his step- son was abusing her and did nothing to help her. Shameful!! Hold on my dear, they will will get their payday someday.

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