Lawyer attacks 'victim' as rape accused takes stand
By LEDEDRA MARCHE
Samuel Russell yesterday denied he ever touched, lured, gave money to or even befriended his teenage accuser who told the court on Monday he had her over at his house several times to watch X-rated movies and perform various lewd sexual acts.
In fact, his lawyer, Carlson Shurland, before calling 45-year-old Russell to the stand yesterday, told the jury the prosecutor had not really told them what she intended to prove.
Russell was initially charged with five counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person above 14 and under 16 years of age between January 1 and May 31, 2011.
The incidents with the 15 year old allegedly took place at Russell's home in Green Turtle Cay, Abaco.
Before closing her case yesterday, prosecutor Olivia Blatch withdrew the fifth count.
In his client's defence, attorney Shurland insisted Russell could not read or write and only knows how to sign his name on the police statement which was presented in court. He also questioned how the lead investigator could charge Russell only after interviewing him and reading his teenage accuser's statement.
He pointed out to the six-man, three-woman jury that a lot depends on the integrity of the evidence and credibility of the witness
Shurland said the case hinges on whether they believed a young lady "with her drama and crocodile tears" or his client who was about to put himself at the mercy of the prosecution.
Russell told the court he worked at Abaco Seafood and would only speak to his young neighbor while he was walking to work and she was on her way to school.
He said despite her father's testimony, he and her father were not friends and he would only speak to her father to say good morning or good afternoon.
Russell maintained he never gave the young girl any money and had denied her when she asked one time.
The girl also told the court on Monday that Russell would pay her $20 after having sex with her, blackmailed her and gave her a cellular phone last year so she could come over anytime he wanted her.
When questioned about the girl ever coming to his house, he recalled one time when she came over while her niece was there and she said "hi" to her.
Russell denied ever giving the teen-age girl a cellular phone for herself or even texting her because he could not read.
When pressed about the phone under cross examination, Russell said he gave the girl the phone when he was leaving for Nassau to give to her mother.
"I'm not that kind of person," he insisted. "That's not my style."
He said he was in his room when the girl came in, and he left and never asked her to take off her clothes.
"I did not fool with her," he said.
Prosecutor Blatch again questioned if he lured her in to take advantage of her not long after she moved there.
"She trusted you, you were her neighbor. After you started touching her you became aggressive and you went in for the kill. I am suggesting to you that you are a liar," she charged.
Under re-examination by defence attorney Shurland, Russell told the court he had no children, was not married, didn't have a girlfriend and has only male friends.
Both sides gave their closing arguments during the afternoon session yesterday, and Senior Justice Hartman Longley is expected to sum up the case today before turning it over to the jury.
© 2012 The Freeport News