The trial of a former hotel spa therapist accused of indecently assaulting a client while he performed a treatment on her began in the Royal Court yesterday.
Ajo Dominic (40) denies massaging a woman’s pubic area during a treatment at the Hotel de France’s Arusha Wellness Spa in February 2011.
Mr Dominic argues that the woman made up the allegation to get him into trouble after he accidentally knocked off a towel that was covering her breasts.
The complainant made a statement to the police immediately after her treatment at the spa but Mr Dominic had left the Island by the time a decision was made to charge him.
He was eventually charged last year when the police became aware that he had returned to Jersey.
Pictured: Police charged Mr Dominic when they became aware he had returned to Jersey after having left the island.
On the first day of the trial on Monday, Crown Advocate Matthew Maletroit said that the woman had booked to receive a ‘padaghata’ massage, which involves the therapist standing over the client, holding onto a rope for balance, and using his feet on the client’s body.
She had received the same 55-minute treatment, also from Mr Dominic, nine months earlier.
Giving evidence before a jury of six men and five women, the woman said the beginning of the treatment had been similar to her last experience: Mr Dominic had left the treatment room while she changed into a towelled robe and disposable paper underwear, and he began massaging her scalp, shoulders and neck while she sat in a chair.
With a towel, covering her legs, she then lay face down on a low bed while Mr Dominic massaged her back, upper bottom and legs with his feet. He then held up a towel and looked away while she turned over to lie on her back. He also put an eye mask on her face.
However, after Mr Dominic massaged her exposed upper body with his feet, it is alleged that he then removed her paper spa pants with his hands, poured oil into her pubic hair and massaged the area.
Pictured: The case is being heard in the Royal Court.
Advocate Maletroit said: “There is no question that this was indecent. It became way too much for the complainant and she asked him to stop.
“The defendant assured her that it was ok. She said ‘no’ but he continued touching her. She said ‘no’ for a second time and crossed her legs and sat up. Only then did he cover her up, invite her to go to the relaxation room and walk out.
“What she endured was the defendant abusing his position to expose parts of her body in a manner that was grossly inappropriate and indecent.”
Cross-examining the woman, Advocate Mark Boothman, defending, put it to her: “During the course of this massage, Mr Dominic accidentally knocked the towel covering your breasts with his feet. You sought to exaggerate what had happened to get him into trouble, didn’t you?”
“No,” she replied.
“He didn’t remove your pants or rub oil into your pubic hair, did he?” asked Advocate Boothman.
“He did,” she said.
“From the moment he started until he finished, he conducted this massage entirely appropriately, didn’t he? he asked.
“No, he did not,” she replied.
Also giving evidence, the woman’s sister, who had received a treatment at the same time and saw her immediately afterwards, said that she looked very serious and pale and “did not seem herself at all."
“She said the treatment was different to last time and it didn’t feel right,” she said.
The woman immediately made a complaint to the spa manager and the hotel manager before driving to Police Headquarters with her sister to give a statement.
Last to give evidence on the first day of the trial was the Hotel de France’s spa manager Dr Prasanna Kerur, who told the Court that it was not normal practice to massage a female without a towel or disposable bra covering her chest, nor would a therapist ever remove a client’s underwear.
The trial continues this morning before Commissioner Sir Michael Birt.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.
There are no comments for this article.