Thursday, March 14, 2019
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A 70-year-old Freeport man accused of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl was arraigned in the Freeport Magistrate’s Court yesterday, however he maintained that he did not commit the crime.
Norman Ferguson, of Hudson Estates, walked with his head held down as he was escorted by officers shortly after 9.30am to the Garnet Levarity Justice Centre.
As he made his way by a small group of onlookers, some persons shouted out to him to hold his head up. No one was allowed inside the courtroom, except a woman who was an immediate family member of the victim and members of the press.
Ferguson appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Debbye Ferguson. He was charged with having unlawful sexual intercourse. He was not represented by counsel.
It is alleged that on March 10, at Freeport, the accused raped the eight-year-old.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Ferguson indicated that she was not related to Ferguson despite them sharing the same surname and asked him whether he wanted the matter heard in the Magistrate’s or Supreme Court.
Ferguson said that he wanted the matter to proceed in the Magistrate’s Court, and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, the court prosecutor informed the court that legal officials are awaiting instructions from the Office of the Attorney General as to whether the matter will proceed by way of a voluntary bill of indictment.
On the matter of bail, the prosecutor said that Ferguson had no right to bail as the offence falls under Section 438A, Part B of the Sexual Offences Act. He said the accused would have to apply to the Supreme Court for bail.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Ferguson explained to Ferguson that the law prohibits her from granting him bail, and remanded him in custody.
When asked if wanted to say something, Ferguson said that the matter came about as a result of a fight he and and a woman had over a DVD.
“It is not about fooling with no girl,” he said.
“She moved the DVD and I tell her bring it back and I pulled out the plug; this ain’t come from fooling with no girl.... I ain’t gone fool with no little girl,” he said.
Before being leaving the courtroom, Ferguson, who was handcuffed and shackled, asked the magistrate if officers could “take off cuffs of my foot; it is hurting.”
The magistrate said that they could not, but asked officers to ensure the cuffs were adjusted so that he was comfortable.
The matter was adjourned to June 12 for a preliminary inquiry.