The teenage girl whom former political candidate Errington Webster is charged with indecently assaulting told a jury Wednesday that Webster had paid her to send him a topless photograph of herself.
The payment was among a series of cash gifts, amounting to about $900, that he gave the girl, who was 13 at the time of the alleged offenses.
Webster, 55, is charged with three counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency.
The girl was questioned Wednesday about her relationship with Webster, whom she knew had children and grandchildren.
The girl’s interviews with police were played Tuesday as “evidence in chief” for Justice Charles Quin and a jury of five women and two men. The girl, who appeared Wednesday by video conferencing, was first questioned by Crown counsel Darlene Oko who asked her about her police interviews and text messages between her and Webster. She agreed she had told Webster she loved him, but explained that she meant it as a friend.
She agreed she had asked him for money more than once because “he always told us if we needed anything, we could come to him for it.” She said she asked him for a phone, clothes, food and money to get her hair done.
Further along in their friendship, when she asked for something, “he would say we have to make a deal for it.” He said he would give her things in return for him getting something back.
Asked what that meant to her, she said, “I would probably have to kiss him ….” She started to cry as she described what she thought Webster wanted to do to her.
She said he wanted her to be his girl and she thought that meant being his best friend. He told her she could not have any boyfriends. She told the court, “I didn’t like boys because they were annoying, so it was easy to agree.”
She said Webster (who was a candidate in the 2013 general election), told her if he were elected he would put her through school and give her a car, a house and a job.
The teenager said Webster told her he would always want her around. Sometimes it made her feel uncomfortable, sometimes it made her feel special.
The jury heard that she sent Webster a text at one stage saying, “I do love you but sometimes I need things and you play with my head too much.”
In another text message, Webster asked her what she really thought about him. “So you like me my way?” She replied, “I think you’re sweet and kind but sometimes jealous and a control freak.”
Asked what she thought Webster meant by his question, she said, “I think he meant we would be physical with each other.”
Ms. Oko asked, “Did you want that to happen?”
“No, ma’am,” the girl replied.
The prosecutor asked about a video the girl said she recorded in Webster’s vehicle in June 2016, without Webster’s knowledge. The jury has seen and heard it. The girl said she kept the video so she would have some evidence if she was going to accuse him of anything.
She agreed that she had sent him pictures of herself. He had asked for a photo of the top half of her body without any clothes on; she sent him one and he gave her $25. For another picture, he gave her $50.
Defense attorney Steve McField pointed out that his client was not charged with anything relating to photos, but Justice Quin said they showed the relationship between Webster and the girl. The jury was given copies of the photos.
Beginning his cross-examination of the girl, Mr. McField asked her about the dates on which the indecent assaults allegedly occurred. She said she did not remember the dates.
She agreed with Mr. McField that she had told people Webster was a good man and he helped everybody.
She said she knew he was a politician and was running for office, but did not agree that she was assisting him in his politics. She agreed he was friendly with many people.
Mr. McField asked how much cash the girl had received from Webster and she estimated about $900 in total. She agreed she had given some of the money to a man.
The girl was still being cross-examined at press time.