Tears welled up in a young man’s eyes when a jury found him guilty of attempting to have unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl 11 years old, and for having sexual intercourse with her on two separate occasions.
The nine member mixed jury returned the guilty verdict for Arion “Baffroy” May on Wednesday January 24, after two hours of deliberation at High Court #1, where Justice Richard Floyd currently presides. May will be sentenced on February 29.
The trial began last Friday January, 29, after May pleaded not guilty that on a date unknown, between September 30, 2018 and January 1, 2019 with attempt to commit the offence of unlawful sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 13, did an act which is merely preparatory to the commission of the offence.
He also pleaded not guilty that on a date unknown, between September 30, 2018 and January 1, 2019 he had unlawful sexual intercourse with the virtual complainant, she being a girl under the age of 13.
He further denied that on a date unknown, between December 31, 2019 and June 23, 2020 he had unlawful sexual intercourse with the virtual complainant, she being a girl under the age of 13.
In her opening address, Crown Counsel Maria Jackson-Richards said that the child was only a grade six student when she was “robbed of innocence” and “sexually assaulted” by May.
Jackson-Richards added that “the sole person who witnessed” this offence was the child herself, as it occurred when no one was around.
When the virtual complainant was called upon to testify, she claimed that she was assaulted on four different occasions: twice in 2018, once in 2019, and once in 2020. However, Justice Floyd ordered the jury to disregard the virtual complainant’s testimony on the extra offence that she mentioned, as May was on trial for three counts of a sexual offence, not four.
Though the offences began in 2018, the matter was not reported to the police until 2020. The virtual complainant said that she did not tell anyone about what was happening to her out of fear of being ridiculed.
“I feel like if I tell my teachers, the rumours would spread. People would be like ‘oh she get raped’,” the girl told the court.
But the youngster said that these encounters with May were emotionally damaging her life, and she became “fed up” with what he was doing to her.
“I was not as happy and a excited person. I used to be a fun, cheery person,” she said, in response to a question from Crown Counsel Jackson-Richards during cross examination.
“On the day that my mom did call, she said she noticed something about me, and she asked if I was fine about three times,” the virtual complainant continued, adding that even after that, she still lied to her mother.
However, she said that her mother broke out in tears and pleaded with her that she can be trusted, and it was that moment that she confessed everything to her mother.
The mother reported the matter to the police in 2020, and at the age of 19, May was arrested.
But May in a electronic interview claimed that he “would never do such a thing…”.
“Nothing like that never happened,” he said, adding that on July 14, 2018 he got into an accident where he broke his right hand and injured his left foot to the point where he was unable to walk, so he would have been physically incapable of doing the things that the virtual complainant claimed that he did to her.
Lawyer, Carl Williams who only represented May for “special measures in the case,” put it to the virtual complainant that her testimony was fabricated based on other circumstances that he alleged. However, she disagreed with counsel, and responded, “I’m not lying”.
After hearing the testimonies of the virtual complainant, her mother, her primary school class teacher, her primary school principal, a medical professional, former police officer Cpl 334 Harry, and Sergeant 712 Williams, the jury came down on the side of the virtual complainant and rejected May’s defence.
And the young man, who remained stoic throughout the entire trial, was overcome with emotions upon hearing the guilty verdict, as he came to terms with the reality that he is facing a custodial sentence for the first time in his life, for offences which he began committing over five years ago.