An outburst in court by a Penticton man alleged to have pimped out his step-daughter did not help his cause in trying to face his accuser during trial proceedings.
Judge Greg Korturbash decided to allow the Crown’s application to have the teenage step-daughter testify via closed-circuit television during the four-day trial scheduled to start May 28. Also approved on Wednesday at the Penticton provincial courthouse was the application for the teenage girl to have a support person with her while she testifies.
“The outburst at court last week during testimony of any witness could harm the effort to have a full and candid account,” said Korturbash. “The court is not willing to take the risk that it will happen again.”
On Friday, the step-father, who cannot be named in order to protect the alleged victim, held up a handful of papers stating his step-daughter had sent cards, poems and photos to him in prison. He questioned why she needs a support person. The step-father was charged in July 2011 with 10 offences, including sexual assault and living off the avails of prostitution of a person under 18.
Korturbash said reasons for allowing the applications are three-fold, and even though the step-father will not literally be able to face his accuser, he still will be able to hear the case against him.
The first reason Korturbash gave for his decision was the victim’s age. He said although the girl is 18, and technically an adult, she is still “relatively young.”
Secondly, the judge said because of the relationship between the victim and the step-father, it is understandable why it would be difficult to face him. Korturbash said testimony heard on Tuesday from an RCMP victim services support worker that the step-daughter was scared of the man even if he didn’t say anything was reliable and trustworthy.
Finally, Korturbash said the outburst by the step-father in court is something the step-daughter should not have to witness should it happen again.
“It will not insulate her, but at least remove or provide some separation should there be any outbursts,” said Korturbash.
During the judge’s decision, the step-father remained quiet, dropping his head and looking downwards while shaking it back and forth as the reasons were read.