Human trafficking trial adjourned to August 20

Human trafficking trial adjourned to August 20
(FILE PHOTO)

Virtual complainant no longer in The Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The trial of two men accused of bringing a Venezuelan woman into The Bahamas for prostitution was yesterday adjourned to Friday.

Prosecutors allege that Paul O’Brian Pawar, 30, of Sapphire Ridge, and Theo Johnson, 33, of Milky Way Drive, conspired to bring in the 34-year-old woman for the purpose of exploiting her for prostitution sometime between July 6, 2021, and July 22, 2021.

The woman, whose identity has been withheld, was named as the virtual complainant.

The Magistrates’ Court Complex on Nassau Street.

Pawar and Johnson appeared before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.

Attorneys Damian Gomez, QC, and Ian Cargill appeared on behalf of the defendants.

The Crown prosecutor was present.

Eucal Bonamy, the senior prosecutor from the Department of Public Prosecutions was excused by the court as he was attending another matter in a higher court.

Gomez said he had hoped to speak to the senior prosecutor concerning discovery, noting that the trial date was predicated on preparation and having certain matters addressed.

The court was also advised that the virtual complainant was no longer in The Bahamas.

Referring to previous matters involving the trafficking of persons, Ferguson-Pratt advised that where there is a complainant, it is a preferred position of the court that the accuser faces the complainant.

She noted that in past cases the prosecution has had to determine whether it will call back a virtual complainant.

Her comments were not directed toward the ongoing matter before her.

The chief magistrate also noted that a total of 15 witnesses were named, including two physicians.

 


 

 

The article has been edited to reflect the proper inference of the court as it relates to commentary about the virtual complainant to face an accuser. The chief magistrate was not making any inference on the ongoing matter before her, but speaking to previous matters adjudicated on. Additionally, the headline of the article previously noted that senior prosecutor Bonamy was a no-show. While he was not present, he had been in communication with the court and had been excused, as he was attending a matter in a higher court on the day.