Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Roman Catholic Priest on Trial for Rape

Published: 9 Jun 2009

Fr Enel Almeus, right, arrives at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, for the start of the trial. Next to him, at left, is one of his attorneys, Rajiv Persad. Photos: KEITH MATTHEWS

A Roman Catholic priest went on trial yesterday, charged with having sexual intercourse with the wife of a police officer, without her consent. Fr Enel Almeus, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him by the clerk of the court.

Almeus, of the Holy Ghost Fathers, is before Justice Andre Mon Desir in Port-of-Spain Sixth Criminal Court, charged with allegedly committing the offence on March 19, 2004, at St Mary’s College in Port-of-Spain, where he teaches and lives. Almeus, who is originally from Haiti, is being represented by Desmond Allum, SC, Rajiv Persad and John Heath; while Israel Khan, SC, and Debra James are prosecuting.

Khan obtained the fiat from the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute. After Almeus pleaded not guilty, selection of the jury started in open court. The courtroom was packed with potential jurors, all of whom heard the charge read, and the not guilty plea entered. Almeus, dressed in a white shirtjack, sat calmly in the prisoners’ dock during selection of the jury.

Seven men and two women were empanelled, while two men are to sit as alternates. The matter was adjourned to this morning, when Khan will open the prosecution’s case. The matter will then be heard in camera, in accordance with the Sexual Offences Act. Five prosecution witnesses, including the alleged victim, will testify, but the media and the public will be kept out until the time for the jury’s verdict.

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