Opposition candidate for Castries Central, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun has told the Times that an allegation of sexual assault against former Agriculture Minister, Ezechiel Joseph, must not be taken lightly.
The accusation against Joseph, who is the opposition candidate for Babonneau in the upcoming elections, was made Sunday night at a public meeting by former Micoud North MP, Jeannine Compton-Antoine.
“This is a very serious allegation,” Flood-Beaubrun told the Times.
However she asserted that not because an allegation of sexual assault has been made, guilt should be assumed.
“The other party is innocent until proven guilty,” the Attorney at Law by profession said.
Flood Beaubrun said she was sorry that the matter had to come up at this point.
But she stated that an allegation has been made and it needs to be taken seriously.
“It is strange that it should come at this time because obviously it will have implications for Mr. Ezechiel Joseph’s campaign and that is why it is really important for everyone to approach this in a very balanced way, not blaming the accuser or disbelieving outright, but at the same time recognizing that the allegation may or may not be true,” the former government minister declared.
Ezechiel Joseph has flatly denied the sexual assault claim made by Jeannine Compton-Antoine and has disclosed to the Times that he is seeking legal advice.
Flood-Beaubrun said persons are in no position to know what happened, since it was one person’s word against another’s.
“It is for the two of them to know whether it happened or not,” she told the Times.
The former minister said she does not know whether Compton-Antoine intends to pursue the matter.
She said until the truth is known, Ezechiel Joseph is innocent until proven guilty.
“It is passing strange that it is happening at a time like this when it can cause so much damage to his reputation and to his family, and perhaps the matter may not be resolved before the elections,” Flood-Beaubrun observed.
She explained that it was important that the matter is resolved.
“It is important that both sides are able to have their fair opportunity,” Flood-Beaubrun told the Times.
She asserted that it would be a shame if the matter is not resolved before elections so that persons would know for the fact what merit the allegations have.
“It is unfortunate – there is such a serious allegation and there is such a short space to the elections; it can cause so much damage and there is not perhaps time to resolve it,” the former minister said.
She said it is important for the rights of the accuser to be protected, but also important that it is recognized that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.