R. v. J.P.
(1) Sexual Assault;
(2) Sexual Interference
The client, J.P., who was in his early 20s, was charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference as against a complainant who was 15 years of age. The Crown alleged that he had engaged in oral sex with the complainant. The client denied engaging in any sexual activity with the complainant.
At the client’s trial, the only witness called by the Crown was the complainant. In cross-examination, she admitted that she had helped the client during the alleged sexual activity by taking down her jeans after the client digitally penetrated her vagina but prior to the client performing oral sex on her. The complainant explained in cross-examination that she had done so because the client “was struggling and it was awkward” and she “wanted to help him out”.
Such admissions from complainants are rare, however, they become more common as the experience of the cross-examining lawyer increases.
More significantly, one piece of evidence was that the complainant had disclosed, in an e-mail to a friend, what had allegedly occurred between her and the client. The complainant had been asked about the content of the e-mail by the Vice-Principal of her school to whom she had stated that everything in the e-mail was true. In cross-examination, she admitted that the e-mail contained allegations which were false. The complainant’s explanation for having included the false allegations in the e-mail, and for having stated to the Vice-Principal that everything in the e-mail was true, was not accepted by the trial Judge.
Accordingly, the client was found not guilty.