Valiyaveettil Josepeter was convicted in Grand Court for one count of indecent assault and acquitted on another Friday in a trial related to an incident at Smith Cove that occurred in February.
Mr. Josepeter was accused of inappropriately touching two girls – age 7 and age 10 – while they swam at Smith Cove on Feb. 4. Both girls allege that Mr. Josepeter touched them in their private areas, but the defendant said that he had not made any inappropriate contact with anyone on that day.
Justice Roger Chapple noted that the defendant was of previously good character and had no prior arrests, but he also said that he did not find the defendant’s testimony to be believable.
Mr. Josepeter will be back in Grand Court for sentencing on Jan. 24.
One of the complainants alleged that the defendant made brief and perhaps accidental contact over her swimsuit, and she shouted to her mother from the water that she had been touched inappropriately.
The other complainant said that Mr. Josepeter had held her in the water facing away from him and had made inappropriate contact both over and beneath her swimsuit. Justice Chapple said that multiple witnesses corroborate the second girl’s account that she had been held in the manner described, but they could not corroborate the inappropriate contact because it occurred underwater.
All four corroborating witnesses were credible, Justice Chapple said, and there is no indication that they influenced each other’s testimony.
The defendant adamantly denied making any contact with any child beyond accidentally touching one on the hand. Arresting officers smelled alcohol on the defendant’s breath, and he allegedly said during one point of the police interview: “Please give me a break. I won’t do it again.”
Justice Chapple said there was “some doubt” in his mind regarding the offense involving the girl who was touched over her swimsuit, and he said there was no independent corroboration of the event.
“The prosecution must prove the charge so I feel sure of it if there’s going to be a conviction,” he said.
Crown counsel Nicole Petit asked for Mr. Josepeter to be immediately remanded into custody, but Justice Chapple elected to maintain the terms of his bail until his sentencing hearing. Justice Chapple also ordered a social inquiry report to assess the defendant’s background before sentencing.