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Belvedere man fed up being labelled a rapist

Belvedere man fed up being labelled a rapist

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Belvedere resident Maxford Ashton is tired of being labelled a rapist by police officers and residents of his community.

“I want the public to know I’m not the person that the cops try to make it seem that I am.”{{more}}

The 28-year-old told SEARCHLIGHT that his woes began on a Friday night in October 2014, when he was apprehended by police in Brighton for having in his possession a marijuana cigarette.

He says when he appeared at the Calliaqua Magistrate’s Court the following Monday, the magistrate dismissed the matter. However, on his way out of the station, an officer informed him that another officer wished to speak with him and asked him to sit on the bench and wait.

Ashton says that he sat there for the entire day, until later that night when he was remanded.

He said he learnt the following morning that he was under investigation for an incidence of rape that occurred near to the Huffles nightclub.

According to Ashton, the police then requested that he do a voice parade at the Biabou police station, but then brought him back to Calliaqua because of a malfunction of the system there. He was then taken to Kingstown the following Wednesday morning.

“They tell me when I finish the voice parade I can go home,” the young man told SEARCHLIGHT.

Ashton says at police headquarters, he and eight prisoners were assigned numbers and told to repeat a sentence, while the victim listened behind a partition.

“Apparently the victim, which is the girl that got rape, was on the other side of the wall,” Ashton said.

According to the young man, following this, he was informed that his voice was identified by the victim as the rapist.

He was arrested and charged with rape.

Ashton said after that, his matter was repeatedly adjourned at the Family Court because the prosecution did not possess the case file. He said that after a few adjournments, the judge told the prosecutor that the case would be dismissed the next time if the file is not presented.

In June, when he went back to court, the victim was present for the first time. During cross-examination by Ashton’s lawyer, the woman revealed that she had never seen him, nor did she know anything about him.

“This is the first time I’ve seen that girl, eight months later,” he remarked.

According to Ashton, the matter was then given another adjournment, so that the arresting officer, the doctor and a justice of peace could give evidence.

Since June, the matter was adjourned a few more times, but last Thursday when he appeared before the court, the magistrate told him he was free to go.

Ashton says because of the charge, the community has branded him a sex offender.

“Right now, everybody in the community is looking at me like i’m some sort of rapist.”

“Because they [the police] don’t know how to do their job properly, the whole community is looking down on me right now,” he said.

According to Ashton, the case has caused him a lot of inconveniences, including missing work and causing his mother to fly home from Canada.

“They had me signing in every Friday at Calliaqua police station,” he added.

Ashton said that the last Friday he went to sign in, one of the police officers referred to him as a sex offender, “tarnishing my name in the public.”

He also claimed that his landlord and an ex-police officer have been able to tell him about conversations he had with female friends overseas.

The irate young man said he is seeking legal advice from his lawyer Ronald Marks as to what his next step should be. (AS)

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