TORONTO — Three Toronto police officers sexually assaulted a parking enforcement officer two and a half years ago when they had non-consensual sex with the woman at a downtown hotel after a night of partying, Crown prosecutors alleged Monday as a trial for the trio got underway.
Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara, all constables in the same division, have each pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault in connection with the alleged incident.
In opening arguments that highlighted the evidence expected in the case, Crown attorney Mabel Lai said the alleged assault took place between 12:20 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2015.
“The Crown will allege the three defendants variously engaged with intercourse and oral sex without her consent,” Lai said. “That will be the crux of the Crown’s case.”
The accused and the complainant — who cannot be named due to a standard publication ban — had been out partying with others as part of a “rookie buy night” where rookie officers buy drinks for the veterans, Lai explained.
One of the officers, Nyznik, had booked a hotel room at the Westin Harbour Castle, Lai said.
All three accused officers began the night around 6 p.m. at a bar called the CC Lounge and Whisky Bar with other men, court heard. Shortly before 9 p.m., the female parking enforcement officer arrived at the bar, court heard.
The group then moved to a different bar, Pravda Vodka House, before one of the officers had to return to the hotel room because he had vomited, Lai said.
The two remaining male officers and the complainant later went to a strip club before ending up at the hotel around midnight, court heard.
There is agreement that all four were alone in a hotel room, according to admissions filed in court, the Crown said.
“The dispute is about what happened in that hotel room,” Lai told the court.
The complainant left the hotel room at 3:30 a.m. and texted a friend about the alleged sexual assault 13 minutes later, Lai said.
Nine days after that, Det. Sgt. Jeffrey Attenborough, who received a complaint from the female parking officer, began investigating.
He testified that he visited the complainant at her home along with forensic officers who seized some of her clothing from the night of the alleged assault, including a bra and shirt that were sent to the Centre for Forensic Sciences.
DNA evidence that includes semen found in the complainant’s genital area and around her neck, along with semen found on her shirt and bra, will be part of the Crown’s case, court heard.
The trial was also taken through surveillance video of the three officers and the complainant at various points before and after the alleged incident.
Court saw video of a wobbly Kara returning to the hotel around 10 p.m. being helped by another man. Court also saw footage of Nyznik, Cabero and the complainant enter the hotel around 12:12 a.m.
In security footage near the elevator at that time, the complainant appears to be smiling. There is also video of the complainant leaving the hotel around 3:30 a.m. and getting into a taxi, while video shows the three officers leave the next morning shortly after 9 a.m.
Nyznik’s lawyer, Joanne Mulcahy, took great pains showing that video from some parts of the night, including time spent at Pravda, and some clips from the hotel, was not part of the evidence.
The trial is taking place before a judge alone.
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press