Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Accused Simeon Pope asked one of the Prosecution´s witnesses to calm down as he questioned him under cross examination in the ongoing trial involving the alleged unauthorized sale of Government-owned vehicles.
Pope who is charged with seven counts of obtaining property by deception is representing himself during the trial. It is alleged that Pope who worked at the Public Works Department collected monies from three men promising to secure the purchase of government-owned vehicles knowing that he was not in authority to do so.
Yesterday afternoon, March 13, one of the men who allegedly fell for Pope´s alleged deception, Harold John was cross examined.
John, a security officer was the only victim who Pope returned his money two months following the incident.
Under cross examination, Pope put to John that when he told him to reach him to view the vehicle he told him to reach him at the Marine base. However, John said that is not so rather he told him to reach him at the Waterfront. John kept insisting that what Pope was stating was not what transpired.
Pope then told the witness, "we not fighting, don´t mind the police...I ain´t deny taking your money." Pope said he denies doing it by deception.
Pope put to the witness that when he [John] called him on a Saturday he told him that the government office does not open on Saturday, but he kept calling him back. However, John said on the Saturday in question he was calling Pope from 8.00 am but he returned a call around 10.00 am and stated that he was doing the people´s work and don´t have time to deal with him.
Pope asked John if he is aware that any government office opens on Saturdays; however, John said he was not dealing with a government office rather he was dealing with Pope and he gave the money to Pope.
"You were the go between person," the witness said.
Pope then asked the witness to state what he was told by a fellow security officer at the Road Town Festival Village; however, trial Judge Justice Albert Redhead told Pope that the witness cannot reveal such information since it would be hearsay.
Pope then jokingly said that he was just playing with the witness like what the prosecution does at times. He also thanked the Judge for his continued guidance during the trial.
He then asked the witness if he thought that he [Pope] intentionally took his [John] money and would not have returned it, but Justice Redhead once again had to caution Pope that he cannot ask such a question since the witness would not know his intention or what was in his head.
John had testified that in late July while working at the Festival Village Pope had apologised to him for what he did in relation to the vehicle.
He said Pope stated, "John I am sorry, I wrong you." John had also said Pope asked him for forgiveness and he told Pope that forgiveness comes from God and if God forgives he will forgive him.
However, Pope suggested to the witness that when he spoke with him he basically told him that he was sorry for using indecent language on the phone; however, the witness maintained that was not the nature of conversation.
According to prosecution John like the other two victims, knew Pope and that on June 10, 2010 he ran into Pope at Nibbs garage where he told him that he has a vehicle for him to purchase.
John told police that Pope then took up some papers from his vehicle and made a phone call where he appeared to be negotiating the price for a vehicle. He told John that he can get a vehicle for $500.00 based on what the `lady´ on the phone said. The man who only had $240.00 on him at the time and provided the money to Pope.
The man is alleging that later Pope said the `lady´ was selling the vehicle for $700.00. According to John, on June 11, 2010 Pope visited his work place and collected $260.00.
It is alleged that he began to call Pope periodically, but Pope then became abusive towards him, and then told him to reach him at the ferry dock so he can take him to see the vehicle.
He said Pope never showed and stopped taking his calls. A report was then made to the Road Town Police station.
Further, it is alleged that in August 2010 at the Festival Village Pope saw John and told him that he knew he did him wrong and asked for John to forgive him.
John told officers that the following night, a fellow security officer went to him and gave him $500.00 and told him something.
Prosecutor Christlyn Benjamin has told the jury not to let the fact that Pope returned John´s money cloud their judgment because police were already involved in the matter as Pope was charged on June 23, 2010.
The other two men who were allegedly deceived by Pope are Alvin James and Peter Robinson.
The trial continues today.