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Antigua: Sex crime case dismissed because police erred

By Antigua Observer

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(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – The overzealousness of the police to prosecute a man for allegedly having sex with a minor led to the matter being discontinued in the High Court because the girl was actually over the age of consent.

On Tuesday, Crown Counsel 1, Adlai Smith offered no evidence against the 53-year-old man and so the accused entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment where he was set free.

“It was the first time I got sight of the matter, it is one of those matters that was recently assigned to the Sexual Offences Court, so Ralph Francis (attorney for the accused) drew my attention to the submissions he made on the Magistrates’ Court and I had a look at the child’s birth certificate and she was in fact over 16 at the time of the sexual encounter. He was committed for having sex with someone under 16, so now, naturally I don’t have a case. As the prosecutor I offered no evidence and I withdrew it,” Smith said.

The court pronounced a formal verdict and the accused, who had the matter hanging over his head for over a year, was freed from prosecution.

The man was arrested and charged with the offence following the leak of an audio file, that made its rounds on social media, in which the accused man and the female who was believed to have been a minor were arguing over the price for the sex act.

The child’s mother reportedly became suspicious after hearing her daughter’s voice and questioned the child, who admitted that it was her voice.

In the almost three-minute audio, the man is heard objecting to the price he initially proposed to

pay for sex and the duration of the activity, while the female claimed the amount was to be doubled for two minutes.

The dispute continued with the female reminding the male he is older than her. It is only when the male told her he was recording that the female conceded, saying“whatever.”

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