— Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram
The lawyer for a journalist charged with child luring attacked the complainant’s credibility Wednesday morning in court.
Mike King, lawyer for Kevin Kelly — a former senior editor with the Newfoundland Herald — cross-examined the teenager in provincial court, questioning her honesty on topics ranging from her age to her co-operation with police to whether she felt uncomfortable or threatened.
Kelly is accused of sending the teenager — who was 14 at the time — inappropriate messages through Facebook between December 2011 and January 2012.
The girl testified Tuesday that Kelly at first appeared to be interested in helping her pursue a modelling career, and provided good advice, but then asked her personal and sexual questions about her measurements and her sex life. The girl reiterated to King today that when the questions became personal, she became uncomfortable.
“You didn’t stop talking to him, though. You kept talking to him,” said King, who pointed to a message from Kelly to the girl in which Kelly suggested they stop communicating — calling the girl his “dream girl” but saying that he loved his girlfriend of 22 years — to which the girl responded, “But can’t we still be friends?” and “I’m not scared of you or anything.”
On the stand, the girl said she found it interesting, and her friends — with whom she shared the conversations on Facebook — found it funny.
King repeatedly asked the girl if she altered the content of their Facebook conversations — and she repeatedly said she didn’t — and he questioned whether she had ever actually told Kelly she was 14. King noted the birthdate on the girl’s Facebook profile at the time she and Kelly messaged each other — and as recently as last week — had her year of birth as 1988, and that her profile also notes she’s a student at Memorial University, when she is in fact entering Grade 12 in the fall.
The girl responded she entered a fake birthdate when she created her Facebook profile — while she was in Grade 6 — because she wasn’t old enough at the time to have a Facebook account, and hasn’t changed it since because she never thought about it again.
King also asked why the girl deleted all her conversations with Kelly from Facebook after her parents learned about the messages and called the police.
“I didn’t want to feel responsible for ruining someone’s life,” she said. “I just felt pressured.”
King asked her if she really deleted them because she was worried she would get in trouble, which caused her to laugh.
“No, I knew I wasn’t going to get in trouble,” she said.
The trial continues today, with Kelly’s former girlfriend of 22 years on the stand.