Women jailed three years, fined $24k each in Guyana for publishing sex video

Michael Eli Dokosi Mar 17, 2020 at 08:30am

March 17, 2020 at 08:30 am | News

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

March 17, 2020 at 08:30 am | News

Janelle Williams (left) and Melissa Ann Pestano via stlucianewsonline.com

Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court has handed a three-year jail sentence to friends – Jannel William and Melissa Pestano – in Guyana for cyber bullying.

They were also fined GYD $5 million ($24,000) each.

It emerged the North Ruimveldt residents between January 20 and 21, 2020, in Georgetown, used a cellphone to circulate an intimate session the victim Teresa Pollard was having with a man in a hotel.

Both friends pleaded guilty to the charge. The judge held they had caused Ms. Pollard emotional distress and humiliation circulating the sexual tape, according to the Guyana Chronicle.

Police prosecutor Richard Harris explained the defendants had a conversation where William told Pestano, who is her sister-in-law, that her brother, Jamal Holland was having an affair with Pollard.

“Pestano confronted her fiancé Holland, who admitted to having an affair with Pollard. In retaliation, the couple plotted to have revenge on Pollard. The plan entailed that Holland would have sex with Pollard and Pestano would catch them in the act.”

In line with the plot, on January 20, 2020, Holland took Pollard to a city hotel where they had sex. About 10 minutes later, Pestano barged into the room and ‘captured’ the sexual act involving Pollard and Holland using her cellular phone.

Pestano sent the video to Williams who subsequently shared it to several other persons. Thereafter, the video went viral on social media although its spread was later restricted by the social media platforms.

In tears upon realizing the heavy punishment coming her way via the Cyber Crime Act, Melissa Pestano told the court that she shared an eight-year old friendship with Pollard taking her as a sister. She added it was why upon discovering that she was being intimate with her man that she decided to shame her publicly.

While Senior Magistrate Daly acknowledged that it would be tough for any lover to find their partner and close friend in such an act, circulating intimate videos of people was unacceptable.

“You can’t allow your emotions to take control of you. It’s hard, a really hard lesson but I hope you learn from it. I need to send a message so that you or anyone else won’t do something like that again.”

Pestano is 21 and mother of one while her co-accused Janelle Williams is 23 and a mother of two.

The offence they are charged with carries a summary conviction of three years along with a fine of GYD $5,000,000. The video took a life of its own so much so that a popular singer from Jamaica posted it on his Instagram page while others from the Caribbean also shared on their platforms.

It prompted Ms. Pollard to plead with people on social media to stop sharing the content as she was hurting from the humiliation. It’s however unclear why the man in the center of the dispute wasn’t handed a similar sentence given he was in on the plot.

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