By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE teenage girl at the heart of an unlawful sexual intercourse allegation against a police reservist quietly told a court that “nothing” happened between her and Dwayne Decosta in June 2018.
The comment came when the 14-year-old took the witness stand yesterday and was questioned by the prosecution.
And from that point on, the eighth grader hardly answered the Crown’s questions, and eventually told the judge she did not intend on answering any of them. Though she initially appeared to be shy and nervous, the girl eventually stopped giving verbal responses altogether. The last response she gave the Crown to one of its questions was her shaking her head while looking at the floor, prompting an adjournment.
The 14-year-old’s testimony came during Decosta’s trial alleging he had unlawful sexual intercourse with her on July 14, 2018 in the precincts of the South Beach Police Station.
Before she gave her evidence yesterday, Justice Grant-Thompson asked the girl a series of questions in response to defence attorney Murrio Ducille’s suggestion that because of the nature of the case and her age, a voir dire (a trial within a trial) should be held.
Some of those questions were whether the girl knew what it meant to take an oath in court, which she said she didn’t. However, the girl did say she understood the difference between telling the truth and a lie, and said she had no reason to tell a lie in relation to the matter.
The 14-year-old ultimately revealed that on the date in question, she was at her grandmother’s house where her mother also lives. She said she stayed there until 6am.
The girl, who was 13 at the time, said at some point, she poured water in her mother’s bedroom. Her mother subsequently took her to her father’s house, dropped her there and drove off. The girl said she was there until sometime after six.
At some point, her father’s neighbour saw her and took her to the South Beach Police Station. She said when she got there, she was instructed to sit down. Meanwhile, she said her father’s neighbour gave a report to the police then left.
Crown prosecutor Jacqueline Burrows subsequently tried to get the girl to testify about what she told police had allegedly happened to her by Decosta.
“Tell us what happened,” Ms Burrows said. There was no reply.
Justice Grant-Thompson then said: “(Young lady) can you answer Crown counsel?”
There was still no reply from the teenager.
It was only when Ms Burrows asked the teenager “what happened” a second time that she replied, almost inaudibly: “Nothing”.
Immediately after that, Justice Grant-Thompson asked the teenager: “Are you okay?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the girl replied.
“You need a moment?” the judge prodded.
“No ma’am,” the young witness said.
Ms Burrows subsequently continued in her attempts to get the girl to say what had allegedly happened, but the teen kept staring at the floor and would not respond. Even when the judge asked her if she intended to answer the Crown’s questions, she remained silent, staring at the floor.
After a brief break to give the girl some time to compose herself, Ms Burrows attempted to show her a video captured from the police station’s surveillance cameras.
In that video, which captured the foyer area and the station’s glass front doors leading outside, a woman could be seen being escorted into the station by an officer, who points to a chair in which she eventually sits.
While the video was playing, however, the girl had her head lowered and would only glance fleetingly at the screen; she looked down at the floor most of the time. However, she said she did see the video.
When asked by the prosecutor to point out where she was in the video, the girl gave no reply. When the prosecutor asked the girl what had happened in the video, she continued to stare at the floor.
From that point on, the only other question she answered was one from the prosecutor about what she was wearing on the date in question. The girl said she was wearing a grey coloured jacket and short, pink pants.
The case continues on Monday.