RCMP Cpl. Steven Blackmore found not guilty by jury on all 10 charges.
Steven Blackmore. — Telegram file photo
Update: Jury begins deliberating in RCMP officer's case
The jury has begun deliberations in the case of RCMP Cpl. Steven Blackmore.
The seven men and five women started discussions this morning after a three-week trial and after a full day of being charged on the law by Justice Robert Stack at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.
Jurors must decide verdicts on 10 charges — six counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault and single counts of assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm.
Blackmore is accused of violent acts against one woman and assaulting a younger woman.
The incidents are said to have happened between 2005 and 2012 in various parts of the province, where Blackmore was stationed.
He is no longer on active duty while the case is before the court.
Complainants’ credibility focus in closing arguments
Lawyers make final plea to jury in trial of RCMP Cpl. Steven Blackmore
The defence called them liars. The Crown said they were honest and forthright.
Whether or not RCMP Cpl. Steven Blackmore will be found guilty of criminal charges will depend heavily on how reliable the jury considers the two complainants to be.
Lawyers presented their final arguments to the seven men and five women of the jury Tuesday in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s.
According to defence lawyer Bob Simmonds, “It’s absolutely, 100 per cent clear that Mr. Blackmore is innocent.”
Prosecutor Jeff Summers said, “The Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Cpl. Blackmore committed these acts and you will find him guilty.”
Blackmore is accused of committing violent assaults — both physical and sexual — against one woman and assaulting a younger woman.
He’s charged with 10 counts, including six counts of assault, two counts of sexual assault and single counts of assault with a weapon (a knife) and careless use of a firearm.
A resident of Gander who was assigned to the Carmanville detachment, Blackmore was charged in June 2012.
The offences are said to have happened over a number of years in a number of communities, including Gander, George’s Brook, Wesleyville and Carbonear. Blackmore, 40, is not on active duty and was released shortly after his arrest.
One of the women — the main complainant from whom most of the charges stem — testified during Blackmore’s three-week trial that he attacked her many times — grabbing her by the face and throat and throwing her to the floor, holding a knife to her throat, smothering her with a pillow and choking her to the point she thought she was going to die. She also said Blackmore forced himself on her sexually twice.
Blackmore denies he committed any violence towards her. He testified that any use of force against the woman was only to calm her down or prevent her from committing any violent acts against him.
“What more could he say?” Simmonds said. “It did not happen.”
Simmonds questioned the main complainant’s credibility, pointing out that she lied several times. He said there were many inconsistencies in her testimony regarding location and time of the alleged assaults.
The woman also admitted she falsified information, including her work experience and education, to get the job.
He also noted that the woman gave five statements to police after the alleged offences, but only made allegations about sexual assaults in her fifth statement.
Simmonds said the woman’s lies “go to the heart, soul and foundation of her testimony and every allegation against that man,” he said, pointing to Blackmore.
Blackmore is also accused of pushing a young girl with such force, she landed 10 feet across the room. She said he injured her wrist and head.
But Simmonds said the young woman was intoxicated and had been involved in a confrontation with her boyfriend earlier in the night, which resulted in the police showing up. He said the woman was out of control.
Simmonds said Blackmore may have pushed her with moderate force, but it was a reaction to her unruly behaviour.
The careless use of a firearm charge stems from an incident in which Blackmore reportedly passed around his loaded service rifle to a group of people while on duty.
Blackmore claimed he ejected the magazine, which stores the ammunition in the rifle, before allowing them to touch it.
However, Summers said none of the people there saw him removing the magazine. He added that an officer testified at the trial that RCMP officers are required to have their rifles loaded and ready at all times while on duty. Summers said removing the magazine would be contrary to Blackmore’s training.
Regarding the main complainant’s testimony, Summers said the woman admitted she could not recall every detail of every assault from Blackmore, since there were so many. He told the jury to consider her perspective and that she was “just her recalling the situation.”
He said her untruths, such as lying on her resume, “should not subtract from her credibility in what happened to her.”
Summers said Blackmore’s testimony was “self-serving” and that he blamed the woman for many of the incidents. He said his lies were an attempt to defend himself to the jury.
Also, Summers told jurors that even if they accept Blackmore’s testimony that he used moderate force in pushing the younger woman, it would have been “completely disproportionate” for the situation.
Justice Robert Stack began charging the jury Tuesday afternoon. Once he’s done, jurors will be sequestered until they determine if Blackmore will be acquitted or convicted of the charges.