CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Offences against person and reputation - Sexual assault - Consent

Law360 Canada (October 10, 2023, 6:36 AM EDT) -- Appeal by LAJK from his conviction for sexual assault on grounds that trial judge committed multitude of errors in her assessment of credibility. LAJK and AB were romantically involved. During the relationship, they regularly engaged in sexual activity. Approximately one year after their breakup, AB provided a statement to the police, alleging several incidents where LAJK engaged in sexual acts with her, without her consent. Although their evidence aligned in many respects, there was divergent testimony on the issue of consent, specifically relating to an occurrence in the woods near AB’s family cottage. Regarding the specific incident that occurred near her family’s cottage, AB testified that during a walk in the woods, LAJK forcibly bent her over at the hips, pulled her pants down and tried to have sex with her. She struggled to get away. The interaction ended when she stood up, freed her hands from his grip behind her back and pushed him off. She stated LAJK then stormed off and she followed him while apologizing because she felt bad. LAJK’s evidence mirrored AB’s in many respects but not all. He maintained any instance of oral sex and/or digital penetration was consensual, consent being communicated either by words or conduct. As to the specific incident at AB’s family cottage, LAJK testified having gone to the cottage during the summer of 2020 but denied any occurrence of sexual activity in the woods. The judge canvassed the evidence given at trial. She rejected LAJK’s evidence and convicted him of the sexual assault described by AB as having occurred at the cottage in the summer of 2020....
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