Defence begins cross-examination of girl in abduction, sex assault trial

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The little girl was remembering all the beautiful things that happened in her old neighbourhood.

During her testimony Tuesday at the child abduction trial of former school custodian Lawrence Thompson, 68, the seven-year-old got excited when she was shown photos of her old street, near where she says she was picked up by a stranger on May 13, 2018.

She pointed to the tree on the corner near the stop sign where she said the car rolled up and the man threw her over his shoulder, carrying her to his car.

She remembered the neighbour with the tulips and the flower pots who showed her how to garden. She recalled the girls who used to sell lemonade on the street for “two quarters.”

There were good family friends across the street where she liked to go for a Popsicle.

What she and defence lawyer Lakin Afolabi haven’t talked about yet during her cross-examination is her memories of what happened in the car after a man picked her up.

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What the girl’s testimony is showing is the delicate balance both the Crown and the defence have to take when dealing with child witnesses.

Thompson has pleaded not guilty to four charges — child abduction, kidnapping, sexual assault and sexual  interference.

The girl was four at the time of the incident and her identity is protected by court order.

She said Monday that in the car, the man pulled her onto his lap on her stomach, pulled down her pants and underwear and slapped her once.

The girl is testifying from a closed-circuit TV suite and the courthouse support dog, Yzer, is beside her on a couch.

Afolabi asked the girl if the man asked if she was lost when he approached her. “I thought I knew him,” she said, but didn’t know from where.

She said in her police statement that the man called her “Melissa.” She said there was a photo in the car of “Melissa” and she knew the name because it was written on the photo. Afolabi asked her to read “street view” on the computer screen. She read the first word and took an incorrect stab at the second.

When Afolabi started to ask what happened after she was dropped off by the man, she said “I just sat on the steps crying.”

“I don’t really know stuff and I really don’t want to tell it.”

The trial resumes this afternoon.