Teen charged with sex crimes testifies at trial
Although he admitted to exposing himself twice, the Crown maintains a man accused of sexually assaulting five youths minimized his role in his testimony.
The male teen, now 18, took the stand Wednesday during the fourth day of his youth court trial. His name is protected by the Canada Youth Justice Act and the name of the five victims is protected by a court ordered publication ban.
The 18-year-old is accused of five counts of sex assault, two counts of sex assault with a weapon and one count each of sexual interference and committing an indecent act. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between 2011 and 2015 and the victims and the accused had some involvement with local Scouts and cadet groups. Some of the incidents occurred on Scout or cadet activities.
His four-day trial concluded on Wednesday. Judge Darrell Riemer reserved his decision until next week.
After playing the two-hour police interview of the accused in the morning, Crown Prosecutor Dane Rolfe closed his case.
The interview started with the 18-year-old denying the allegations. However, as the interview went on he admitted to smaller, lesser elements of some of the allegations including twice exposing himself to a male youth.
He also admitted to some sexual touching, but said it was much more innocent and in the context of kissing, hugging or other behaviours that were allowed by the accusers.
Defence counsel Kevin Schollie opened his case by calling his client to the stand. The 18-year-old reiterated that he had exposed himself twice, but denied numerous other allegations. He denied performing an indecent act in front of an accused and said that much of the groping and fondling allegations were innocent and he thought some were wanted advances.
The accused said he did not know why he exposed himself and agreed when Rolfe described it as a spur of the moment decision.
When Rolfe said the accused would minimize his involvement when confronted on some of the allegations, the 18-year-old said “to a point.”
In closing arguments, Schollie contended that his client’s testimony was the most reliable. He said the male victim gave varying statements to police and was not immediately forthcoming to police.
Schollie said it was only when the male victim heard of one of the other victim’s assault that he came forward and all five victims knew each other and were in it to cause trouble for his client. Schollie said it was a case of five individuals embellishing and helping each other out.
Rolfe said the accused can’t be believed because he lied to the police and admitted to lying to them again. Rolfe called the accused deceitful and minimized his involvement.
Rolfe said the victims’ crucial testimony was believable and there was a reluctance to come forward at first because they believed the accused could change.