By Shurtz, Delon on January 22, 2020.
There are four flaws in the Crown’s case against a Raymond man accused of sexually assaulting his own daughter, claims the lawyer representing the 54-year-old father.
First, the girl was pressured by her mother to provide a statement to police, Wade Hlady told a jury Tuesday during his closing arguments in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench. Hlady said the girl’s testimony was also devoid of detail, often didn’t make sense, and was not supported or corroborated by other evidence.
The accused, who testified in his own defence Monday and simply denied all the allegations against him, has been on trial for the past week on charges of incest, sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching. His name cannot be published to protect the identity of his daughter.
The girl, who claims she was sexually assaulted for four years beginning when she was only nine years old, testified last week that her father inappropriately touched her – and had her touch him – on numerous occasions, and had intercourse with her, as well. The assaults ended after her father moved out of the home early in 2018.
Hlady told jury members he suspects they will want to believe that the girl wouldn’t lie throughout her testimony or fabricate the horrendous allegations against her father. But, he reminded jury members, they have a “higher duty” to base their decision on the evidence presented at trial and to remember the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
Hlady said the girl often couldn’t provide specific details or elaborate on many of the alleged sexual encounters between herself and her father, and some of the assaults would simply have been impossible to commit. He also suggested the girl may have an overactive imagination and actually believe she’s telling the truth, despite the evidence.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence is not believable.”
Crown prosecutor Michael Fox agreed the girl was pressured by her mother, but to disclose what happened to her, not to fabricate a story. There is no evidence, he said, to indicate she was pressured to lie, and she testified she was afraid to tell her mother about the assaults.
Fox also noted the girl did provide detail about some of the encounters, but she can’t be expected to remember everything about the assaults, which had begun several years earlier and occurred hundreds of times.
Fox advised jury members to rely on their own life experiences and common sense when determining a verdict, and consider that the young and sexually inexperienced girl could not have described some of the acts unless they had actually happened to her. He also warned them against assuming no father would do what the man is accused of, since that sentiment is not supported by the evidence.
The Crown maintains the assaults, based on the girl’s evidence, began with inappropriate touching while the girl sat on her father’s lap to drive his truck, and they increased in frequency and severity after she didn’t tell anyone.
The judge is scheduled to charge the jury at the start of court today, and the jury will be sequestered until they arrive at a verdict.
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