A Zoom hearing was adjourned after court discovers alleged abuser is in the house of the reported victim
A virtual court proceeding in Michigan involving assault charges was postponed after the alleged abuser was found to be at the same house as the reported victim while the hearing was taking place.
Coby Harris was accused of assault with intent to commit bodily harm. The charge stems from an incident in early February with the alleged victim Mary Lindsey in Sturgis, Michigan. Lindsey said in the hearing that they have dated in the past, but are no longer together.
At the four-minute mark of the hearing, which was streamed live in Judge Jeffrey Middleton’s YouTube channel, Deborah Davis, assistant to the prosecuting attorney and representing the alleged victim, asks Lindsey several questions to recount what happened on the day she called the police and reported the abuse.
Lindsey appears unsettled and takes a few seconds to answer. When asked regarding particular details about what transpired on the said day, Lindsey tentatively answers and downplays what she said to the police when she made the phone call.
At this point, Davis raises the alarm and told the court, “Your honor, I’ve reason to believe that the defendant is in the same apartment as the complaining witness right now and I am extremely scared for her safety.”
Davis also points out Lindsey’s body language, “The fact that she is looking off to the side and he (Harris) is moving around, I want some confirmation that she is safe before we continue.”
The judge then asks Lindsey where she is at that moment and she answers, “Uhm, I’m at a house.” She eventually gives the exact address where she is.
The judge proceeds to ask Harris if he is in the same house as Lindsey. He says he’s not and gives the judge a different address. Judge Middleton tells Harris to walk out of the house he’s in and show the house number. Harris asks “why” and makes an excuse that his phone is hooked to a charger because its battery is at two percent.
Moments later, Davis interrupts to say that the police are knocking at Lindsey’s door to check on her. Lindsey was disconnected from the proceeding after she is seen talking to the police officers in front of the house. At this moment, Harris is seen flustered and tries to remain focused but cannot. His connection to the hearing went offline, too.
“We may need to adjourn this, your honor,” Davis tells the judge.
Lindsey’s connection to the court proceeding went online again but this time, it was Harris who was shown onscreen while being taken into custody by the police.
“Your honor, me and Mary don’t want the no-contact. I asked that to be dropped. I’m sorry I lied to you,” Harris pleads.
But the judge interrupts him, “Mr. Harris, my advice is, don’t say anything else. The hearing is adjourned. Your bond is cancelled. If you have $10 million, you can’t bond out. In addition, the prosecutor’s probably also going to charge you with obstruction of justice.”
The judge adds, “We’re serious as a heart attack. It’s the first time I ever had anybody sitting in the next room potentially intimidating a witness.”
Those who were able to watch the video of the hearing lauded Davis for recognizing the signs that Lindsey was not safe. The viewers also praised officer Josh Edgington for initiating the phone call to get the police officers to Lindsey’s apartment.