A man who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl after faking an emergency to lure into the grocery shop he operated has been convicted for the offence of having sex with a person under 16 years old.
However, Wade Smith, 37, was found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault, which were based on allegations that he twice touched the 14-year-old inappropriately while taking her to school in his car.
A jury deliberated for 90 minutes before handing down the unanimous verdict in the Home Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Smith, who shares a child with the teen’s cousin, is set to be sentenced on May 3.
According to evidence presented by prosecutors, the 14-year-old would sometimes help Smith in the small grocery shop he operated in the yard where the victim and her family reside.
She gave evidence that in March 2017 she went to the shop to purchase an item when Smith asked her to help him.
The teen said she left and later returned.
According to her testimony, she was on a verandah at the back of the shop tying up bags with flour and sugar when Smith raised an alarm and told her to come quickly.
She said after entering the shop Smith dragged her into a bathroom and sexually assaulted her.
The teen testified that after the incident she met up with her mother to purchase items of clothing to wear to the annual Boys and Girls Athletics Championship.
Prosecutors say her mother became concerned after she only purchased a black blouse.
Other family members, prosecutors say, reported seeing the 14-year-old smoking a cigarette and crying, which was unusual.
She reportedly told her older sister about the attack and asked her to keep it a secret.
The older sister, instead, told their parents who reported the matter to the police.