Biabou man to be extradited to the US for sexual assault of minor
A van driver from Biabou has been ordered to be extradited to the United States of America (USA), where he will be sentenced for sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a minor; crimes he was convicted for in 2010.
Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne made this decision after an extradition hearing at the Serious Offences Court on Friday, January 17 concerning 52-year-old Gerald Jessop, also known as Steve James.
The prosecution was led by crown counsel Karim Nelson, who was accompanied by crown counsel Rose-Ann Richardson, while Jessop/James was represented by attorney Kay Bacchus-Baptiste.
Three prosecution witnesses were called: Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) Junior Simmons, Inspector Paul Jones and Sergeant 333 Bowens.
James/Jessop was wanted in the USA for sexual assault in the first degree, and risk of injury to a minor and that he had gone through a full trial and was convicted by jury in October of 2010.
He was given bail by the Connecticut Supreme Court in the sum of $50,000, and was supposed to return for his sentencing hearing on February 23, 2011. However, he absconded.
Based on an affidavit by the assistant attorney for the Hartford District, John F Fahey, the facts in the case are that the victim was touched in a sexual manner by Jessop while she was sleeping in a bed. The action he did awoke the victim and she recognized who he was.
After an investigation was launched and Jessop arrested, then convicted, he absconded to SVG in the year 2011.
ASP Simmons said that they were able to confirm that Jessop and Steve James were one and the same person after they retrieved his birth certificate from the registry which bore the name Gerald Jessop. However, the document showed that his name was changed to “Steve James” on December 5, 2011.
After the arrest warrant was issued for James in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Sergeant Bowens, acting on information, proceeded with a party of police officers to the Tokyo bus terminal on September 10, 2019. The defendant driving omnibus HD144 entered the terminal, and the officers arrested him.
At first Jessop/James, denied knowing anything about it, but when at the police station he said that he thought the mother of the child had already forgotten about the matter in the US, and he would like to telephone her.
Bowens and Simmons headed over to the Biabou home of James/Jessop, where they secured Moneygram receipts and other documents bearing the name “Steve James.”
The Inspector, an expert in fingerprint evidence, gave evidence that he had compared the defendant’s fingerprints with those sent in the bundle from the United States and they were a match.
After the prosecution’s case was finished, James himself gave evidence, only to say that the lawyer for his trial in the States did not defend him well. He said he told the lawyer about documents from the Department of Child Services concerning an interview with the minor. In this interview he said she pointed to her brother and nephew as the persons that molested her. His lawyer never got these documents, James said.
Part of what convicted James in the United States was confession evidence, but he claimed that the police pushed him to admit the crime and told him they wouldn’t arrest him.
At the end, during final submissions, Bacchus-Baptiste raised the point that the prosecution hadn’t proved that James wouldn’t be tried for absconding or any other offence if he was extradited. She said this was a requirement.
However, Nelson used the treaty signed between the Governments and pointed to where the US has promised not to do this, and he showed that this was also contained expressly in the bundle of documents sent.
The Chief Magistrate determined that the requirements under the Fugitive Offenders Act were satisfied for James’ extradition.