A defence lawyer for one of three Toronto police officers accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague suggested on Friday that the woman made up the gang rape allegations because she feared her reputation would be ruined if word of her having sex with the men got out.
The woman – a female parking enforcement officer who cannot be named due to a publication ban – denied the lawyer’s allegations during cross-examination.
She has testified that the officers – Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara – had sex with her without her consent in a downtown hotel room between 12:20 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2015 after a night of partying and drinking.
The accused have all pleaded not guilty to the sex assault charges.
CityNews reporters Cynthia Mulligan and Marianne Boucher are tweeting from the courtroom. Read their updates below or click here.
Nyznik’s defence lawyer, Harry Black, seized on what he called inconsistencies between the woman’s testimony earlier this week and statements she gave to police two years ago.
In one instance, Black referred to testimony the woman gave on Wednesday when she said she was fearful for her life if word got out about the alleged sexual assault because the officers “carried firearms.”
Wednesday was the first time the complainant had mentioned her fear about the officers and their guns.
Court heard she waited nine days until she broke down just before her next shift at work, which is when detectives began investigating.
“After the cat was out of the bag, why didn’t you mention your safety concerns then?” Black asked.
“I did not trust them,” she said.
The woman said some of the new revelations, many of which are finer details about the night in question, occurred because she was in crisis at the time of the original statements to police.
“I’m suggesting to you that what happened on the early morning hours of Jan. 17 was that you got into a panic, filled with regret about what you had done and in a panic about what was going to happen to your reputation if word got out you had intercourse with three officers,” Black said to the woman.
“I did not,” she said.
“You felt you could possibly lose your job, didn’t you?” Black continued.
“I feared losing my job over reporting this,” she said.
“I’m suggesting in the morning you started creating a narrative that would render you blameless for anything that happened in that room,” Black said.
“I disagree,” she said.
She previously told the judge-alone trial that she felt powerless and unable to move or speak when the three officers forced themselves on her. She has also said that her memory became spotty after she arrived at the hotel with two of the accused officers with the intention of dragging the third – who had become sick earlier in the night – out of bed to go to another bar.
The woman has testified that Nyznik forced her to have oral sex and has said all three officers ended up having non-consensual intercourse with her.
She has also testified that she believes she was drugged at some point during that night, but doesn’t know when, where, how or by whom.
The woman, however, admitted lying to her friends in text messages she sent the next day. She said she was trying to prevent any information about the incident from getting out and was also “processing” what happened the previous night.
“I’m going to suggest this is all a lie,” Black said to the complainant.
“Is there a question?” she asked.
“Is it all a lie?” Black said.
“No, I disagree,” she said.
On Thursday, Black grilled the woman on the clothing she wore on the night of the alleged incident, saying she chose to don a “really low-cut top” to get attention from the officers at the party – an allegation the woman denied.
Before the lunch break on Friday, Black attempted to introduce a series of text messages between the woman and another officer who was out that night, although not one of the accused.
The witness was excused as the defence and Crown argued about the relevance of the texts, which the defence called “sexually explicit” messages sent the day after the incident.
Justice Anne Molloy agreed to allowing questions about the complainant’s tone in the texts, but called the messages nothing more than “flirtatious bantering” and didn’t allow three texts as evidence.
Then the judge laid into Black.
“Nor is it appropriate to say because she engaged in this joking the next morning that she wasn’t sexually assaulted,” Molloy said.
“This is walking straight into the stereotypes and rape myths of how a woman is going to behave and that is not appropriate.”