The British Virgin Islands’ first trial surrounding the posting of alleged obscene image on social networking site Facebook got underway today (March 7), moments after the accused Ramoamasagana ‘Masa’ Pemberton pleaded not guilty to obscene publication.
Pemberton, a well-known social media personality and hospital employee, was charged in October 2015.
He is accused of posting on his Facebook page, a video of a man allegedly receiving oral sex.
Pemberton, in a police interview, reportedly admitted to posting the video, but said he removed it five minutes later when he noticed the sexual nature of the footage.
However, in court today, police officer Adrianne Grant-Davies who is attached to the Family and Juvenile Unit of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force contradicted the accused man’s claim.
“That was not true,” Grant-Davies told the court.
The court was furnished with photo evidence as proof that Pemberton had the video online for significantly longer than five minutes after it was posted.
The photos were presented in the form of screenshots captured with the policewoman’s phone while the video was still on Facebook in 2015.
The screenshots show comments from other Facebook users under the said video.
The time stamps on the list of comments showed that the video was up long after it was posted, the court heard.
In the meantime, the police officer claimed that Pemberton told her during an interview that a friend was the one who gave him the video to post.
He also reportedly told the cop that he did promotions as a side job, and so persons would occasionally send videos for him to endorse on his Facebook page.
The police officer, while being cross-examined by defence attorney Valerie Stephens-Gordon, admitted that she ‘accepted’ Pemberton’s word.
She also detailed what she saw on the video when she visited Pemberton’s Facebook page on October 20, 2015.
The police-woman said she saw a female kneeling in front a man’s crotch.
She testified that the kneeling female’s head was bobbing backwards and forwards as if she was performing oral sex.
The camera was focused on the back of the female’s head, the court heard.
The officer said she concluded that oral sex was being performed based on the female’s head movements, the ‘groaning’ that came from the man, and a statement the amateur videographer made in the footage.
“No c*m ina the girl mouth you know; yuck,” the police officer said she recalled hearing in the video.
Cop asked if she saw penis
Defence attorney Stephens-Gordon, in the meantime, questioned the policewoman’s conclusion of what was taking place in the video.
She asked if there was any nudity in the video, and the police-woman said no.
Stephens-Gordon then asked if the policewoman saw the man’s penis in the video.
The cop responded: “Not readily.” She then said: “I saw what appeared to be his penis protruding through his pants.”
Pemberton will return to the Magistrate’s Court for the continuation of his trial on April 3.
Meanwhile, the man who allegedly was seen in the video was charged with one count of causing prostitution of a woman. He is businessman and former police officer Magnus Rickie Latchman, who is also a native of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
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