Lawyer says evidence deficient against human trafficking accused

The attorney representing Sharlene Oxley, the Pattensen businesswoman who is on trial for human trafficking, yesterday urged a court to free her of the charge due to a lack of supporting evidence.

Oxley, 51, of 208 Pattensen, Greater Georgetown, was charged in September with recruiting, transporting, and harbouring a woman for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Attorney Dexter Todd, during closing submissions yesterday, told Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan that she should not find Oxley guilty.

He said that his client was not guilty of forcing the virtual complainant into prostitution, nor did she harbour her. Todd said the virtual complainant was a “free agent” as she testified that she was in possession of her travel documents and she could have left the defendant’s place whenever she wanted. The lawyer said that in trafficking cases, the victim’s travel document would be taken away, and therefore he or she would be unable to leave. Todd said that this was not the case for the virtual complainant.

Todd also pointed out that the complainant had in her possession a cell phone and was able to use the internet, which meant that she could have communicated with persons at home in Guyana while she was allegedly trafficked in French Guiana. Todd said Oxley never prevented the complainant from communicating with other persons.

Todd further explained the reason why the virtual complainant was in French Guiana was to look after Oxley’s daughter and not for prostitution. The defence lawyer said that the prosecution has no case against his client, while adding that the matter has too many unanswered questions, with few key witnesses present in court. Todd said that given the lack of evidence, his client should not be convicted.

The Chief Magistrate, after hearing submissions, adjourned the matter until December 1, when prosecutor Neville Jeffers is to reply.

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