In an emotional outburst in court Friday, the man accused of pimping his teenaged step-daughter became angry when he learned the Crown had applied to have the girl testify at trial with the help of a support person.
Holding up a handful of papers, the man said via videoconference in Penticton provincial court that she had sent cards, poems and photos to him in prison.
“This (girl) needs a support person?” asked the man, who is charged with 10 offences, including sexual assault and living off the avails of prostitution of a person under 18.
Neither he nor the alleged victim, who’s now 18, can be named due to a publication ban to protect her identity. The burly, bearded man, who was 49 at the time of his arrest, was identified in court as her step-father, but it was reported previously that he is actually her father.
Three other men are charged with procuring the girl’s services here in Penticton near the downtown soup kitchen.
Crown counsel Deb Drissell said the girl is vulnerable and has “some difficulty in relation” to the accused, so would benefit from having a victim services worker nearby to steady her during the four-day trial that starts May 28.
Defence counsel James Pennington agreed to the application, but did oppose, however, a second Crown request to have the girl testify either via closed-circuit TV or from behind a screen so she won’t have to face the accused directly.
The Crown didn’t call any evidence to support that request, which Pennington argued is usually only granted when there is evidence to show the witness fears for his or her personal safety.
Judge Greg Koturbash agreed with Pennington and put over the matter until Tuesday, when the Crown is expected to provide an affidavit from the girl or victim services worker explaining the need to testify out of sight from the accused. The man is expected to appear again by video from jail in Kamloops.
Benjamin Wolfe, one of the accused johns, agreed to both Crown requests earlier in the week. His case is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next month. Due to the publication ban, the court records are sealed for all of the accused in the case, and it’s unclear when the other two accused johns, Rick Brian Wyatt and Baldev Singh Toor, are due back in court.