The end to this sorry saga may be in sight. At the start of the year, the Prosecution had two further witnesses remaining on its latest rosta. One was a PNP officer who was present at at Bella Ruby's home at the time it was searched and his testimony was likely to have been non-controversial and procedural in nature. I suspect the Prosecution was hoping that he might add weight to its contention that Ellah Joy was abducted for pornographic reasons. He didn't show-up nor did Ellah Joy's classmate and close friend, the younger sister of the Prosecution's very first witness. This child should have given evidence as part of the Bail Hearing but after she and her parents saw the effect of the grilling her elder sister endured and whose lack of credibility as a witness was clearly proven, she (the younger sibling) told prosecutors she didn't want to give evidence and effectively withdrew her testimony. She was, however, persuaded to change her mind - probably by her parents who had their eye on a goodly share of the reward monies - but in the event she didn't show up in Court. As no reasons were forthcoming for their absence at the hearing on March 10, the Judge ruled that the trial would continue without them and that no further prosecution witnesses could be called. The prosecutors requested that a USB thumbdrive be examined by the Court and asserted that it contained pictures of young children and thus would demonstrate the defendants' proclivities. Only State Prosecutor Abarca showed up for the hearing during which the USB thumbdrive was examined. The Judge said that she had spent the weekend examining the thumbdrive in detail and concluded that it contained nothing pornographic or illegal. She did note, however, that there were quite a number of 2x2 ID photos of school children which was to be expected as the thumbdrive belonged to a photographer who'd recently taken ID photos for a school and had left the device in Bella's home by mistake. The Prosecution undertook to submit its motion for the admission of its exhibits within 15 days. That deadline expired on April 9 and the prosecution team failed to a man (and woman) to put in an appearance at the most recent hearing on April 16. Not only was there no prosecutor present but it had also failed to file its exhibits motion and anticipating this, the Defence had prepared a motion of exclusion for those exhibits which it then filed with the Court. The Judge issued an order requiring the Prosecution to file its answer and comments on the Exclusion Order petitioned by the Defence within 5 days. The Defence is now preparing a Demurrer which it plans to file shortly. This is likely to call for the dismissal of all charges against Bella Ruby and Ian Griffiths and for a verdict of Not Guilty to be recorded. However there does remain the issue of the Interpol "Red Notice" which the PNP requested in respect of Ian Griffiths. I suspect that will require a set of court proceedings of its own to order its removal. There appears to be no reaction thus far from the Cebu Police and CIDG-7 in particular. Will it wish to re-open the investigation and will it be "open season" on foreigners living with Filipino partners on Cebu? Unlikely, I think even though I am very sure her parents, particularly her father, will wish it to be so.