May 25th, 2024

Woman testifies in sexual assault trial

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 19, 2021.


A woman who says she was sexually assaulted in a man’s vehicle more than three years ago, didn’t see his face during the assault, but recognized his voice, she told a judge Wednesday.
The woman, who can’t be identified under a court-ordered a publication ban, testified Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court she recognized the man’s voice because he had spoken to her earlier in the night while they were at a downtown bar.
Sohil Bindra, whose trial began Nov. 8, is charged with sexual assault and administering a noxious substance in relation to the assault against the woman in the spring of 2018. He is also on trial in relation to three other women, who testified earlier in the trial.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the woman said Bindra approached her while she was at the Sound Garden 21 Club, and sat next to her. The next thing she remembered was waking up in his vehicle with him on top of her. She said she didn’t get a good look at his face, but recognized his voice from their interaction in the bar. She also thought she recognized him from a local gym.
On day one of the trial, a 20-year-old Lethbridge woman testified she was sexually assaulted by a man after he gave her and a friend a ride home from a bar nearly two years ago.
The woman said she and her friend went to a bar on Feb. 7, 2020, and after a few drinks she began to feel unwell and wanted to go home.
Her friend suggested Bindra, with whom she had been talking, could give them a ride home, and when they arrived Bindra helped her into her residence. She remembered collapsing onto her living room floor and Bindra carrying her over his shoulder to her bedroom.
The accused and her friend then left, but Bindra returned later, went into her bedroom, removed her clothes and sexually assaulted her.
Bindra is charged with housebreaking and commit sexual assault, sexual assault, and administering a noxious substance in relation to that woman. He also faces sexual assault in relation to the woman’s friend who testified Bindra groped her after he gave her a ride home.
A fourth woman testified Tuesday she was at a Christmas work party in Dec. of 2018, then later the same night went to a night club. She was too drunk to drive home to Taber, but a friend said she could trust Bindra and stay at his residence in Lethbridge.
She testified she was already intoxicated when they arrived at Bindra’s residence, but he talked her into having another drink which, she said, tasted odd.
“I started to feel sick the more I drank it,” she said.
She vomited shortly afterward and Bindra suggested they watch TV in his bedroom. She complained her back hurt, and allowed Bindra to give her a massage while she lied topless, face down on his bed. She said she couldn’t remember if she took off her shirt or Bindra did.
She fell asleep and when she awoke Bindra was assaulting her. She said she did not willingly allow him to have sex with her and told him no.
Bindra, who also faces two charges of drug possession, is scheduled to stand trial next month for similar charges against a fifth woman, and again in January for sex offences against a sixth woman.
The accused was scheduled to begin a 14-day trial in March in relation to all six complainants, but Calgary lawyer Andre Ouellette applied to have the charges, along with the six complainants, separated into three trials to avoid prejudicing the judge.

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