JANNEL William of North Ruimveldt and Melissa Pestano of Kaikan Street, North Ruimveldt, were, on Friday, jailed for three years and fined $5M by Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, for a ‘cyber bullying’ charge.
The charge alleged that, between Monday, January 20 and Tuesday, January 21, 2020, in Georgetown, both Jannel William and Melissa Pestano used a cellphone to publish or transmit electronic data of Teresa Pollard that is obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious or indecent with intent to humiliate, harass or cause emotional distress to the said person.
Both Jannel William and Melissa Pestano pleaded guilty to the charge
According to the facts presented to the court by the prosecutor, the defendants and the victim are known to each other and would have shared close relations with each other as friends. During the month of January, the defendants had a conversation between themselves whereby, 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.
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 of 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. Consequentially, an investigation was conducted and statements were taken from the victim along with Holland and the defendants (Jannel William and Melissa Pestano). The allegations were put to the defendants and they were arrested.
The prosecutor informed the court of the penalty for the cyber-crime act. It was mentioned that the defendants would be liable to a fine of $5M and three years’ imprisonment. Melissa Pestano, in tears, made an attempt to justify her act. She mentioned to the court that she and the victim shared a friendship of eight years. She further mentioned that she had recognised the victim to be her sister and not just her friend. Pestano relayed to the court that since she had such close relation with Pollard, she felt betrayed at the time of the incident, which caused her to commit the act.