Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Complainant in boat captain’s ‘revenge porn’ case wants to testify virtually

Published:Thursday | June 13, 2024 | 12:10 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

The St James Parish Court will learn on September 24 whether an application will be made for the ex-girlfriend of Dorrane Bryan, who allegedly posted intimate videos of her on social media without her knowledge, to give evidence virtually without attending his upcoming trial in person.

Bryan, a 30-year-old boat captain of a Providence Heights, St James, address who is represented by attorney Henry McCurdy, is charged with malicious communication. He was given the new mention date and had his bail extended following his latest court appearance on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s mention of Bryan’s court matter, the complainant, who attended the sitting via the Zoom online platform, told presiding parish judge Kaysha Grant-Pryce that she would prefer to give evidence over that platform rather than to be physically attend court.

That declaration was made after the clerk of the court indicated that a previous mediation session between the parties had ended without them coming to a satisfactory agreement.

“I would still make my request to take [attend] the trial from video, not in person,” the complainant told the court.

“If you were to give evidence via this medium, you will have to be in a secure location, preferably in the presence of police officers, and an application would need to be made for this special measure to be taken. We can only accommodate you as far as the mention dates. Any further as to a trial, to have you not appear in person, would require an application or special measures, and you would need to be in a sterile environment. So if you can make those arrangements and satisfy the prosecution, then the application can be made,” Grant-Pryce replied.

“This is an application that can be refused or allowed, so you will have to satisfy the prosecution that you are able to get into a sterile environment for the evidence to be marshalled from there,” the judge continued.

“So the evidence that was presented to the detective needs to be re-presented in court by me?” the complainant inquired.

“Ideally, that is the first position. Witnesses need to be present in court for the trial. Only under exceptional circumstances will you be allowed to testify via the current medium,” Grant-Pryce replied.

Additionally, the court was told that the Communication Forensics and Cybercrime Division (CFCD) report in relation to Bryan’s phone is currently still outstanding from the prosecution’s case-file.

Grant-Pryce subsequently set the matter for mention on September 24, ahead of a trial date being set, and extended Bryan’s bail to that date.

“The lab is currently in backlog. They take some time to do those cyber-checks. Therefore, the matter remains on the mention list for September 24. So it won’t be a trial date. It will be a mention date,” said Grant-Pryce.

“Secondly, the complainant has indicated that she may not be present in person for the trial. It means the prosecution will make an application to have her give evidence via Zoom. Mr McCurdy, you will indicate to the clerk whether you have any objections once those applications are made,” the judge said in addressing Bryan’s lawyer.

Stalking allegations

According to the allegations, Bryan began stalking and threatening the complainant after their previous relationship ended in February this year.

Between March 4 and March 6, Bryan reportedly posted intimate videos of the two of them to a social media platform. The videos had reportedly been recorded without the woman’s consent or knowledge.

The complainant reported the matter to the police, and Bryan was taken into custody. He was formally charged on March 24.

It should be noted that the issue of ‘revenge porn’, where intimate photos or videos of persons are maliciously posted online without their knowledge or consent, has been a subject of concern for Jamaican lawmakers in recent years.

In 2021, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions called for lawmakers to make revenge porn a standalone offence under the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 on the grounds that it was difficult to convict persons who maliciously revealed private photos on WhatsApp that caused distress to the victim.

In 2022, there were 10 reported cases of malicious communication involving sexual images, or revenge porn, five fewer than those reported in 2021.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com