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Lawyer challenges female military officer's story in sex-assault case

Last Updated Jun 19, 2018 at 5:40 pm EST

HALIFAX – A defence lawyer suggested Tuesday that a female military officer who says she was sexually assaulted initially reported just enough to superiors to cover the fact she slept with a subordinate.

The woman has accused military police officer Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre of sexually assaulting her in her hotel room during 2015 Canadian Navy exercises in Glasgow, Scotland.

She told a Halifax court martial she repeatedly told him no, but defence lawyer David Bright challenged that during cross-examination Tuesday.

He suggested she invited him into her room, and mutually participated in sexual acts.

“I suggest you started kissing one another … and you said to Sgt. MacIntyre, ‘I’m not a good kisser’,” said Bright.

“No,” the complainant replied. “The only thing I remember is waking up and him touching me.”

Bright said the officer had failed to keep text messages that might have been relevant to the case and also washed away blood stains she testified were on the white tank top she was wearing when the alleged assault occurred.

“All we have is your recollection given quite a while afterwards,” said Bright, who added the officer also didn’t seek medical attention for bruises and vaginal irritation she said she sustained.

She didn’t file a formal complaint until nearly six months after the Sept. 27, 2015, incident, he noted.

The woman said she did discuss the alleged incident with her superiors in the days following, but only provided partial detail because she wasn’t comfortable providing more and didn’t want her husband to know before she could tell him.

Said Bright: “I’m going to suggest to you … you just told your superior enough to cover you, but your whole purpose was to cover yourself, what do you say to that?”

The complainant shot back with a question of her own, asking “Why would I be covering myself?”

“Because you did wrong, because you slept with a subordinate,” Bright said.

“But why would I come out with that six months after if nobody knew and they didn’t say anything?” she said calmly.

During re-examination, military prosecutor Maj. Larry Langlois asked the complainant about testimony where she had expressed concern about her career.

She said her experience in the military had taught her to be wary of an “old mentality.”

“I was in a man’s world and every time there was a girl coming with sexual assault … they were all talking about her, it was a conversation and it was always her being wrong.”

MacIntyre has entered a plea of not guilty.

The woman testified Monday she had returned to her hotel room that night in an exhausted state. She said she hadn’t slept for about 36 hours after travelling from Canada and going straight to work in Glasgow on Sept. 26.

She told the court martial that she didn’t scream or yell during the alleged assault, but told MacIntyre “No,” as she was forced to continually remove his hand from her lower extremities “10 to 15 times.”

She said he eventually penetrated her. The complainant said she believes she “just froze.”

The trial’s second witness Tuesday, the complainant’s immediate superior, told court she was with MacIntyre in the woman’s hotel room after a night of socializing and drinking.

She said neither she nor the complainant were heavily intoxicated, registering about a five on a scale of one to 10, although MacIntyre seemed to have had more over the evening and was “about a seven.”

She said at one point MacIntyre was on the bed next to the complainant and she remembers him stroking her hair although it wasn’t in a sexual way.

She said they later left the complainant and returned to their rooms after she fell asleep.

Earlier Tuesday, Bright asked about her statement to police in which she expressed confusion about exactly what happened that day.

“Did you say to the police ‘I don’t know. Did I do something? Did I make him come behind me and have sex with me?'”

The complainant confirmed she said that to police, and Bright asked her why.

“Because I don’t know what happened between the time he left the room and the time I woke up with him touching me 20 times,” she said.

Bright also took issue with testimony that she couldn’t eat in the weeks following the incident, producing an Oct. 11 Facebook photo showing her sitting before a large plate of food during “high tea” at a Glasgow restaurant.

The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, said she took the photo to reassure her family back home that she was well during her trip and that she actually ate very little that day.