Ramoamasagana Pemberton, popularly known as Masa at court December 4, 2015
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
A number of screenshots taken of the Facebook page of Ramoamasagana ‘Masa’ Pemberton are the prime evidence put forward by the crown in determining his fate in a matter where he is charged with obscene publication.
The charge stems from an incident that occurred in 2015, where Masa is accused of posting a video on his Facebook page, which shows what appears to be a young lady performing a sexual act with a man in a local cosmetic store.
Masa made an appearance before the Magistrate’s Court yesterday, March 8 for the start of the trial into the matter.
Adrianne Grant-Davies, Officer of the Family and Juvenile Unit of the Royal Virgin islands Police Force, in taking the stand as the crown’s first witness, disclosed that she was the one who took the screenshots to safeguard evidence of the illegal act.
She informed the court that after receiving the link to the video in question, which was sent to her phone, she immediately saved the video and took screenshots of the page.
She said, “Immediately as an officer, I knew it was an offence and I wanted to save the video just in case. I also took screenshots of the video on the Facebook page.”
The court heard that the Facebook page in question displayed the name and photo of the accused.
Officer Grant-Davies recalled that in viewing the video, she saw a young lady kneeling directly in front of a male, and another lady standing at the side looking on.
The court heard that the kneeling female's actions suggested she was performing a sexual act. The man in the video was also allegedly making moaning sounds during this time.
The officer noted that she also heard that female standing adjacent to the two making certain statements, while the male allegedly encouraged the female performing the act.
She told the court that from her observations, the kneeling female was performing oral sex on the male, in what appeared to be a beauty shop.
Further, in her evidence, the officer stated that Masa was arrested in October 2015 and police conducted a search warrant on his home shortly after, where they confiscated sim cards, jump drives and other electronics. Nothing incriminating was found on the devices, the officer told the court.
Under police questioning, Masa admitted to posting the video to his Facebook page, but claimed he took it down 5 minutes after seeing what the video actually was.
He noted that the video was sent to his phone, instructing that he should post it, but it was not compatible with his device and he was unable to play. He said that he then posted it to his social media page.
The court heard that he also told officers that he facilitates promotions for persons, adding that it is customary for persons to send him videos and photos for him to post.
He informed the officers that he had no intentions to distribute a video of that nature, which is why he took it down after he became aware if its contents.
However, the officer noted that although Masa stated he took down the video 5 minutes after, that was not true. The officer said as revealed by the screenshots, the post remained on his page for quite a while.
Cross-examining the witness, Defense Attorney of the accused, Mrs. Valerie Stephens-Gordon questioned as to the particulars of the video, to which the officer noted there was no nudity, but what appeared to be the private part of the man can be glimpsed in the video.
Masa will return to court on April 3, when the trial is set to continue.