A 44-year-old Labrador man has been acquitted of two counts of sexual assault that were alleged to have occurred when he was 17.
In a written decision on the case, Judge Wayne Gorman outlines his reasons for acquitting the man following a two-day trial in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Oct. 1 and 2.
Publication of the man’s identity and hometown, along with that of his accuser, are subject to a publication ban. The woman was 13 at the time the offences were alleged to have occurred between January and May 1987 and the man was charged as a young offender.
In his decision, Gorman said he concluded that the Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man committed the two offences.
During the trail, the woman testified that she reported the assaults to police in August 2010 after having a “mental breakdown” and speaking to a counsellor. She testified about three incidents in 1986, one where the man asked to have sexual intercourse with her and she refused, and two others where assaults allegedly occurred.
In his testimony, the man denied having any type of sexual contact with her.
Gorman questioned in his decision how old the woman was when the incidents allegedly occurred. At trial she said she was 13, and that the incidents occurred in 1986. However, the information alleges the offences took place in 1987.
Gorman said even though the woman was inconsistent about her age it is of little importance.
“It is hardly surprising that an adult could be mistaken as to their age when something occurred while they were a young teenager,” he said in the decision.
Overall, Gorman said the woman was a very credible, reasonable and believable witness.
“However, as we have seen, the standard and onus of proof applicable to criminal charges in this country does not cease to operate when a complainant provides such evidence,” he wrote.
As for the man’s evidence, Gorman said it was neither illogical nor unbelievable. He said when considering it in the context of the trial he was unable to reject it or formulate a reasoned basis upon which he could say it was untrue or inaccurate.