By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A 30-year-old Haitian man is trying to stave off allegations he fondled his co-worker after promising to drop her home from work earlier this year.
Loody Loriston has denied police claims that he took the woman to an area she was unfamiliar with and indecently assaulted her instead of taking to her Market Street home as agreed on January 25.
Loriston and the woman both work at Warwick Hotel on Paradise Island. Loriston said he started working there in December 2018, but said he has since been suspended due to his court matter. He also has another job at Cleaning Masters, where he has worked for some two years.
According to the evidence summarised by Magistrate Samuel McKinney, the woman reported that on January 25, Loriston offered her a ride home. She said she accepted his offer because at that time of the year, dark falls quickly. She said earlier that day, Loriston had took her to a bank in Palmdale to run an errand.
The woman said while driving to her home, the route Loriston took became concerning to her. She said Loriston drove through many corners that she thought were shortcuts at the time. Nonetheless, she said as she was out of New Providence for six years, the turns made her somewhat disoriented.
She said Loriston eventually brought his car to a stop in front of a residence in an area she was unfamiliar with. She said when she asked him why they were there instead of at her residence on Market Street, Loriston did not answer, and instead fondled her.
The woman said she was able to fight him off, and when she was able to break free from his hold, she opened the car and ran away. She said she ended up at a stranger’s residence where she sought help from the person who lived there, who turned out to be a police officer.
Her boyfriend was subsequently contacted, who later took her to a police station where she filed a formal complaint.
According to Magistrate McKinney, the officer who the woman got help from confirmed her story. The woman officer said she heard the woman calling for help, but out of an abundance of caution did not open her door. Instead, the officer said she got a cell number from the woman, called that number and gave the person who answered certain information.
Loriston was later arrested and charged with indecent assault.
However, Loriston, opting to take the witness stand in his defence, and with the aid of a translator, said around noon on the date in question, the woman asked him for a ride home once their shift had completed at 5pm. He said the day prior, he had given her a ride over the Paradise Island bridge to the bus stop.
Loriston said when the woman asked him for a ride on the 25th, he said “okay”. He said when 5pm arrived, the woman came looking for him. When they both got into his car, she then asked him to do her an additional favour by taking her to a bank in the Mackey Street area, taking her back over to Paradise Island, before dropping her home.
Loriston said he again consented. He said he took her to the bank, where she withdrew some funds, then took her back to Paradise Island for her to drop off the money. At some point, he said the woman used his cellphone to call her cousin to get the money she withdrew. Afterwards, he said they left Paradise Island for the second and final time en-route to her home.
Loriston said as they were driving, he got a call from someone named Phillipson who asked him to pick up some money. According to Loriston, Phillipson is the woman’s ex-boyfriend, who also worked at Warwick Hotel covering the night shift. But based on Loriston’s evidence, the suggestion is she did not know it was Phillipson he was going to see.
Nonetheless, Loriston said he asked the woman if she wanted to go along with him Phillipson’s residence, or if she preferred to get out of the car at that point. He said she consented to going along.
Loriston said when he arrived at Phillipson’s place in the Mackey Street area, and when Phillipson walked out to greet him, the woman abruptly got out of the car and told him that if she knew Loriston was going to see Phillipson, her ex-boyfriend, she never would have never gone with him and instead would have gotten off on the corner.
Loriston also repeatedly insisted that the woman told him: “My boyfriend is a police, I’m a Bahamian, and you’re a Haitian. I will deal with that.”
Loriston said he saw the woman at work the following day, but she didn’t say anything to him. Around 10 that morning however, he said two officers came to his place of work and told him to go to the Wulff Road police station at the end of his shift. He said some three hours later, other officers arrived and told him to go with them.
Loriston said the officers took him to the Paradise Island police station, before officers from the Central Detective Unit (CDU) came for him. He said when he was taken to the Paradise Island station, he had no idea why. However, he said he found out once at CDU.
He said while at CDU, a lady questioned him, and also questioned the woman. Given his partial command of the English language, he said he only understood some of what was being said.
“I felt bad,” he said via translator. “I didn’t know anything about it.”
Loriston, in response to questions put to him by his attorney Keevon Maynard, denied touching the woman, saying, “No, never.” He also said she never complained during the ride.
Loriston also noted that at the time he gave the woman a ride, which was around the 5 o’clock hour, there was a lot of traffic on Mackey Street, so she could have gotten out at any time as opposed to waiting for him to bring the car to a stop. He also said it was because he knows the woman from work that he assisted her when she asked for a ride.
The matter continues on April 16.
Inspector Philip Davis is prosecuting the matter.