Mon | Oct 25, 2021

No decision yet on next move, says Richie Stephens’ attorney

Published:Monday | October 4, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Elaine Lim in a screen grab from the video she posted to YouTube.
Elaine Lim in a screen grab from the video she posted to YouTube.

Richie Stephens’ lawyer Christopher Townsend says no decision has yet been made on the next step for his client.

On Friday, Elaine Lim, a Singapore-based beatboxer and video editor, who goes by the moniker General Ling, uploaded a video to YouTube in which she alleged that she was sexually assaulted by the Jamaican entertainer while on tour in Australia two years ago. “This happened in 2019; here we’re at 2021, and I still remember,” said a tearful Lim of the alleged incident.

Stephens has denied the accusations, with his attorney calling the claims a “character assassination”. “This is a publicity stunt by the lady, so we call it out as that. On the other hand, we are not interested in assassinating her character. Basically, he has responded in hopes that she learns her lesson and to cease and desist. Certainly, if there was something credible, the authorities in Australia would have taken charge of the situation, and Richie would not have been let go,” Townsend said during a telephone interview with his client and The Gleaner.

“As it relates to whether or not we will be taking legal actions, he [Stephens] has given us instructions to connect with our counterpart in Singapore and to alert them to the possibility of a suit, but as to whether or not we are going to go full-blown, we don’t know yet. Certainly, he has asked us to position ourselves for one, just in case he makes the decision to file suit. It may not even [be] necessary because, really and truly, a suit like that may not be useful; it may only benefit her, to give her the attention she is asking for,” he continued.

Townsend further said he is unconvinced the claims will move pass the court of public opinion.

“The court of public opinions, unfortunately, has always been positioned to accept foolishness and accept baseless allegations and even when the evidence is there otherwise, people are generally skewed towards believing things that are fictitious,” Townsend told The Gleaner.

He added, “Nobody spends the time to think about anything that’s too hard. What they do is grab on to the next sensational piece and run with it because it quenches their desire to tear down other people, other human beings. So, the court of opinion is where it is, and Mr Stephens with have to ride it out, unfortunately.”

He said Stephens was the subject of a criminal investigation in Australia in 2019, following which he was allowed to leave on the terms that the allegations were found not credible. Stephens revealed that he contacted Townsend at the time he was detained in the foreign country.

“While I was detained, I called my attorney, Mr Christopher Townsend, who advised me what to do, and at the end of that investigation, they found her allegations were simply baseless. I am really sorry for her to know that she would go that far to try and get some recognition,” Stephens said in a video response following Lim’s post. The Gleaner could not confirm with the Australian police the findings or details of the case.

Townsend said that the resurfacing of Lim’s claims will not have implications on the reputation of his client, despite living in a #MeToo era because “the claims are simply not true”.

“There’s a saying that you know you’re a star when people want to tear you down, so I suppose it comes with the territory, but these things don’t last too long. When you dissect it, it’s really nothing. The thing too is the industry is governed by persons who look at things in the critical fashion, so we do not anticipate it will hurt him much,” he said.

“Like many storms, like many unfortunate incidents, they will do their damage; it’s just to minimise their damage and move on. Certainly, it is not uncommon for persons in the public eye to get this kind of thing, so he [Stephens] is just getting his fair share of it now,” Townsend continued.

Lim and Amanda Hill, the police investigator, listed on the victim’s copy of the police report shared by Lim via Google Drive, have not yet responded to the request for comment sent by The Gleaner.