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Emotional testimony in Birbal sexual abuse case

  • Andre Berbal. FILE

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 18, 2013

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A 24-year-old man experienced a gamut of emotions yesterday as he told a nine-member jury how his art teacher raped him repeatedly throughout high school.

The man openly wept on the stand as he recalled the terror and torment that he allegedly endured at the hands of former Eight Mile Rock High School teacher Andre Birbal, who he alleged performed oral sex on him and sodomized him in a classroom when he was just 12.

He later showed aggression when he cursed the defendant’s lawyer Romona Farquharson, told her she couldn’t possibly have children and said he wanted the defendant dead.

Rocking from side to side, his voice barely a whisper, the man said Birbal had sex with him on countless occasions, sometimes at his home or in secluded bushes in Grand Bahama.

After each sexual encounter, Birbal allegedly gave him money, the court heard.

The man, who is now a father of two, was distraught as he recalled his first sexual encounter. He said he was left alone in the classroom with Birbal, who called him to his desk.

Birbal allegedly cupped his face in his hands and offered to get him braces to fix his teeth, “which were really bad”.

He said Birbal went to his car and when he returned he began snapping pictures of him before he started disrobing him.

“He was between my legs,” the man said.  “He put his head down on my penis. I was trying to get him to stop.”

According to the man, it didn’t stop and Birbal had anal sex with him.

He said that his butt hurt and as he walked home, Birbal pulled up alongside him and offered him a ride.

The witness said, “I cursed him.”

The man said he threatened to tell but Birbal said that he would expose the incidents himself. However, the alleged abuse was not exposed until 2009 after the man had completed school.

As the witness recalled other alleged incidents of sexual abuse, he held his head and occasionally dropped to the ground.

He said, “I gave in. I never wanted it. I was a sex tool for him.”

Explaining his silence, the man said his mother was abusive and he had no one else to turn to.

The witness said he’d always ask Birbal, “Why me?” He said the question was never answered and Birbal would only laugh.

Birbal’s attorney suggested that the man was “making up stories”.

He snapped, “Give me a question. You talking a bunch of (expletive deleted).”

Presiding Justice Roy Jones told the witness to calm down, explaining that Farquharson was only doing her job.

Farquharson suggested that in ninth grade, the man said he wished Birbal were his father.

He shouted, “Say what? The only thing I want is to kill him.”

As Farquharson continued to press, the man became increasingly agitated. At one point, he said, “Stop (expletive deleted) with me. I can’t take this. I swear to (expletive deleted) God.”

Justice Jones adjourned briefly for the witness to compose himself and he burst into tears as he was escorted by his counsellor.

Farquharson was relentless in her cross-examination.  The man said, “I wish you had a child, I wish it was him [who was abused] and you wouldn’t be saying none of this (expletive deleted). I am 100 percent sure this woman doesn’t have any children.”

As Justice Jones adjourned the proceedings for the day, the man insisted he wanted to get the matter over with yesterday.

He said, “I don’t want to come back here. I’m through. I’m finished. I’m not coming back here.”

Birbal is facing a retrial on the allegations. A second accuser has declined to testify.

The matter continues at 11:30 a.m. today.

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