By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A WOMAN who claimed her Haitian co-worker fondled only did so to avoid the “unnecessary drama” of her police boyfriend finding out she had caught a ride home with the accused and that they had stopped at her former lover’s house along the way, an attorney asserted yesterday.
Keevon Maynard told Magistrate Samuel McKinney that the “shame” of being spotted at her ex-boyfriend’s house, with whom she admitted she was rumoured to be two-timing, was the genesis for her “bogus” story that his client, Loody Loriston, groped her instead of taking her home as she agreed.
Mr Maynard further suggested that after Loriston was driven to her ex-boyfriend’s house by the accused, she was likely further incentivised to “concoct” the story in view of the fact that her boyfriend strictly prohibits her catching a ride home with strangers.
Mr Maynard made the assertions while making his closing submissions in Loriston’s trial over allegations he promised to take his co-worker home, but took her somewhere else and indecently assaulted her on January 25.
According to the evidence previously led, 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.
The woman had 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 taken 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 had been 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 with which she was unfamiliar. She said when she asked him why they were there instead of at her residence on Market Street, Loriston did not answer, but instead fondled her.
The woman said she was able to fight him off, and struck him numerous times in his face. She said 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 from whom the woman got help 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.
He, however, told a different story when he took the stand. He said around noon on the date in question, the woman asked him for a ride home once their shift had been completed at 5pm. He said the day before 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. Phillipson is the woman’s ex-boyfriend, who Loriston said 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 to 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 her ex-boyfriend, she never would have gone with him and instead would have got off at 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.”
Yesterday, Mr Maynard said the woman’s actions and statements upon realising she was at Philipson’s house was a “clear indication” that they were her attempts to prevent herself from being said to have been caught in a compromising position.
Mr Maynard also noted that the woman’s evidence was littered with “inconsistencies”, chief amongst which was the fact that although she claimed she struck Loriston numerous times in the face in a bid to get away from him, the officers who testified in the matter said they did not observe any facial injuries on Loriston whatsoever.
He also noted that one officer testified how when he interviewed both parties, Loriston looked “teary-eyed, as if he wanted to cry”, while the woman looked “composed”, something he submitted was proof that the woman’s story was a “complete and total fabrication”.
Mr Maynard thus noted that the case for Magistrate McKinney really boils down to a “he said, she said” situation, and that it would be up to him to determine whose story is more credible. However, Mr Maynard urged the magistrate to consider the testimony of the officer who said that there have been instances where false allegations of a similar nature were made against certain individuals that resulted in those persons being charged.
Mr Maynard said that “straight across the board”, in both The Bahamas and internationally, there have been “numerous” instances where people have been falsely accused of similar offences and convicted. He urged the magistrate not to let the present case turn out to be one of those instances.
Loriston will learn his fate on May 13.