Trial began Monday for Errington Webster, who has pleaded not guilty to three counts of indecently assaulting a teenage girl and one count of gross indecency in the presence of the same girl.
Crown counsel Darlene Oko summarized the case for the prosecution after a jury of five women and two men was selected. She explained that the girl’s evidence “in chief” would be by way of videotape recordings of her interviews with police last year about the incidents.
The girl is then to appear via video link so that she can be questioned by defense attorney Steve McField and re-examined by Ms. Oko. Justice Charles Quin advised jurors that this procedure is quite commonplace when young witnesses are involved. In this case, the girl was 13 at the time of the incidents.
Ms. Oko cautioned that what she said was not evidence, but a summary of what she expected jurors would hear from witnesses.
She said the defendant began paying attention to the girl in December 2015 and began talking to her alone. They had conversations over the phone and via WhatsApp.
At one point, Webster, 55, suggested that they “make a deal” and he wanted her to “be his girl,” the jurors heard. In exchange, he promised to give her things, but she could not be with anyone but him and could not have a boyfriend, Ms. Oko said. He said he wanted to have intercourse with the girl and she told him she did not want to.
The court heard that Webster, over a period of time, had given her money and an iPhone 6.
The prosecutor described details of alleged sexual incidents that occurred inside Webster’s car. During one such incident, in June 2016, the girl recorded video on her phone of Webster’s actions.
The teen subsequently told police that at that time, Webster did not exhibit any difficulties with walking, driving or speaking. He appeared the same as on every other occasion she had been with him.
The girl told police she decided to videotape what Webster was doing because she wanted these things to stop happening. She told Webster that her mother had called and she needed to go home. He took her home.
The jury was shown the video, which lasted about 25 seconds, and includes voices.
Ms. Oko said the girl told a sibling and friend what had happened, but did not tell her mother because she was afraid her mother would be mad. The girl kept the video on her phone and it was accidentally seen by someone else who told a friend.
That person asked the girl for a copy and she sent it. The copy was then shown to an adult who contacted the girl’s mother. That brought the matter to the attention of police.
Webster was interviewed by police, the court heard. He admitted knowing the girl and knowing she was 12 or 13 or 14. He denied buying her a cellphone but confirmed he had bought her clothes.
Confronted about the video, he told police he had no recollection of the act depicted. He explained that while driving home, he had felt a pain in the back of his head and thought the girl had “jugged” him. After he got home, he found himself on the floor of the carport with the carport door between his legs and he didn’t know what happened. He concluded that he was “out of his mind” as the result of drinking grapefruit juice combined with medication he had taken that morning. He denied all incidents alleged.