Ruling expected on admissibility of police evidence at sex assault trial

A judge is expected to rule today on whether certain evidence collected by police investigating an violent sexual assault can be admitted in the accused man’s trial.

A judge is expected to rule today on whether certain evidence collected by police investigating an violent sexual assault can be admitted in the accused man’s trial.

Police allege that a Red Deer prostitute was held against her will and badly beaten on June 4, 2012, by a man who wanted to live out a rape fantasy. The woman’s name is withheld under Canadian law banning publication of the identity of victims of sexual assault.

Nathan Michael Desharnais, 25, is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before Edmonton-based Justice Adam Germain on charges of aggravated sex assault, forcible confinement and choking with intent to overcome resistance.

Police were called by staff at Lacombe Hospital after the woman’s daughter brought her in for medical treatment.

During cross-examination on Tuesday, the alleged victim became combative with defence counsel Arnold Piragoff.

He questioned her about her criminal record and whether she had ever accepted drugs for sex.

She said her only criminal record is for impaired driving and she had never been convicted of any other offences.

She confirmed that, after the beating, she drove Desharnais to a bank so he could get money to pay her but he was unable to get the cash. She testified that she was happy to get away from him and had not decided at that point whether to call police.

“The man tried to kill me. I didn’t care if I got paid or not. I was just happy to be alive, thank you very much.”

She confirmed for Piragoff that she made a statement to police, but had never read it and doesn’t remember its contents.

“I don’t need to remember the horse—t that happened,” she said. “I do recall that I gave a statement to police. I said the truth, I know that.”

The trial then moved into a voir dire, or trial within a trial, to examine police evidence, including an account of the arrest and audio recordings taken afterward.

Germain is to decide if any of the evidence is to be excluded from the trial proper, including allegations of confessions Desharnais made during the course of the investigation.

Desharnais has been in custody since his arrest on June 5, 2012.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

UPDATE: Rally held outside Red Deer court for slain central Alberta man

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Hog slaughter operations resumed on Thursday at Red Deer’s Olymel plant, which was closed for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers. Three employee deaths resulted from the latest outbreak. (Advocate file photo).
Hog slaughtering operations gear up again at Red Deer’s Olymel plant

Workers begin to return after 14-day closure due to COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, holds a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Canada’s chief medical adviser says her department is constantly receiving and reviewing any data on vaccines and COVID-19 variants and will be quickly ready to authorize needed boosters when they’re ready. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Health Canada says vaccine boosters will be approved more easily

OTTAWA — Health Canada says it won’t require new clinical trial data… Continue reading

Unifor national president Jerry Dias speaks during a press conference in Toronto on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Dias says Air Canada is pledging passenger refunds as negotiations over federal aid for airlines drag on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Unifor’s Dias says Air Canada holding to refund pledge as aid negotiations drag on

OTTAWA — Unifor president Jerry Dias says Air Canada continues to promise… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

Most Read