Lock up the mom, prosecutor says

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A crown prosecutor is recommending that the police should charge a mother for allegedly lying about critical information in a sex complaint that led to a man being charged and dragged through the court for more than a year for allegedly having sex with her daughter.
 
Prosecutor Adlai Smith, says the woman attempted to pervert the course of justice, setting off a chain of events that negatively impacted someone’s life for a long time. 
 
The matter eventually ended with the case being withdrawn in the High Court this week.
 
Smith is talking about the case in which a 53 year old media personality  was accused of having sex with a girl said to be under 16 years of age.
 
He says when people seek to pervert the course of justice, it must be dealt with severely, otherwise the system of justice would fall into disrepute and confidence in it will be lost.
 
The matter surfaced when an audio file of the girl’s voice, along with the man’s, was leaked. And, the duo was heard negotiating the cost the man should pay for sex, while the girl reminded the individual that he’s the older of the two.
 
When the investigation started, the girl told police she was 15 years old  at the time of the incident which she said happened in 2016. 
 
And she indicated also that she was born in late 2000 to further support her claim of being 15.
 
However, Smith says a second statement was made to the police a year later, in which the child gave her correct age and explained why she lied in the first place. She blamed her mother whom she said told her if she didn’t lie, the police would not do anything because she’s “old”. 
 
Prosecutor Smith says it appears that when the police charged the man, they relied on the initial statement of age and not evidence of a birth certificate of the child who was not born in Antigua and Barbuda.
 
The defence lawyer, Ralph Francis also says when he learned the child was born in 1999, he raised the issue that she had reached the age of consent and he asked Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh to dismiss the matter which was before her, but she did not.
 
Instead, she sent the case to the High Court for trial.
 
Smith, who offered no evidence when the matter came up for trial in the High Court earlier this week, says it was the correct thing for him to do and he advised the court as to the reason it had to be withdrawn.
 
He says that before any matter proceeds to committal, the file has to be approved by the office of the DPP and in this case the file was sent and stamped as having arrived. 
 
But, Smith said he had nothing to do with the review or vetting of the file. 
 
Smith reiterated that the woman’s actions caused the accused sex offender to suffer unnecessarily for whatever clandestine motive she may have had. 
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