The trial of a 42-year-old man accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys began in the Royal Court yesterday, with one of the, now older, alleged victims explaining that he didn't speak out sooner because he was embarrassed.
Lee Albert Phoenix (42) denies accusations from the two men who say that he indecently assaulted them as teenagers, having pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all six counts brought against him.
A jury of four women and eight men were selected to hear the case as Mr Phoenix’s trial began in the Royal Court yesterday afternoon.
Crown Advocate Julian Gollop, appearing for the prosecution, opened his case by summarising the allegations against Mr Phoenix which form the six counts he is charged with. Presiding over the trial is the Bailiff Sir William Bailhache.
Both alleged victims say that they were “touched inappropriately” by Mr Phoenix as teenagers. The prosecution’s case began with the first of these men, who claims Mr Phoenix indecently assaulted him on separate occasions in different residences, taking the stand to give evidence before the jury.
Pictured: The trial began in the Royal Court yesterday afternoon.
Answering the Crown Advocate’s questions, the first alleged victim said: “Lee abused me, which is why I’m here.”
In his testimony, the first alleged victim accused Mr Phoenix of touching him on and around his genitals, telling the jury that it made him feel “weird”.
Throughout his evidence, the man remarked on the difficulty of recalling the alleged abuse, making comments such as, “it’s a bit difficult to talk about – I’m sorry,” and, “I try to forget most of it, that’s why it’s hard to bring it back up.”
Describing how he felt after the first of the alleged incidents, the man said: “I pretty much just sat there. I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know what to do.”
Asked by Crown Advocate Gollop why he didn’t say anything about the alleged indecent assaults at the time, the man said he felt “embarrassed” and “awkward” about discussing it with anyone.
Pictured: The trial is due to carry on until Friday.
However, he told the Court: “Now I’m older I realised that everything that did happen shouldn’t have happened… I didn’t want to use it as an excuse to do bad things in my life.”
He explained that, as a younger man, he reacted by “acting out over it”, but now he realises that “it’s nothing I could have helped".
Advocate Mark Boothman, representing Mr Phoenix, began his cross-examination of the first alleged victim, focusing on his consumption of alcohol as a teenager.
The Defence Advocate asked the alleged victim if he “used to drink heavily” when he was younger. To this, the man replied: “On a weekend… I would drink more than what you would expect to be normal.”
Pressed on this by Advocate Boothman, the man elaborated: "I could drink seven, eight cans of lager…”
The trial continues.
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