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Sexual assault trial of 3 Toronto cops set to begin
It will come down to a contest over credibility and reliability in a sexual assault case against three police officers in the Toronto area, one legal expert says.
The plaintiff, who has been only identified as a female parking enforcement officer by one local newspaper, has claimed that she was drugged as part of the assault. Her name has not been released due to a publication ban.
The woman has claimed that officers Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik and Sammer Kara assaulted her in a downtown hotel room on January 17, 2015 following a party. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Questions were raised about the dependability of the plaintiff’s claims during a day of testimony at the University Avenue courthouse that included a toxicologist. The expert told the court that the blood alcohol level of the woman was not high enough to explain the behaviour or symptoms such as blacking out.
As part of the evidence mounting against the plaintiff a blood and urine test that she submitted to about two days after the alleged incident came back negative, showing that she did not have anything in her system. However, a sexual assault examination that had been performed on her found traces of semen on her body and clothing, one media outlet reported.
A Toronto-based attorney who works with sexual assault cases, Jordan Donich, said these cases rely on evidence and credibility can be destroyed without it.
“It is going to depend on what evidence there is,” Donich said. “Whether there was a sex kit, whether there were tox reports and, most importantly, how soon these allegations are reported.
“A lot of times what we see even with some of these issues before the courts, there can be a period of time before these allegations are actually reported to police, which a lot of times means the windows to capture that evidence no longer exists.”
Donich said at that point the cases can become “a credibility contest and reliability contest between the complainant and the accused.”
However, he also said that experts where be brought forward to weigh in on the case.
“Experts will be used, if they are qualified, throughout the trial but ultimately the expert is going to give an opinion based on what the evidence is or what there is or lack of evidence.
“Most of the time these cases turn on credibility and testimony and holistic view of the facts.”
The Crown rested its case on June 15, giving the defence the opportunity to put forward their position. This included one of the officers taking the stand. While it was briefly, about an hour, his testimony was expected to continue the following day.
The incident was first reported to police on January 26 and the officers were arrested on February 19.
A decision will be made by Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy in the judge-only trial, something the defendants indicated they preferred.
Donich Law firm has experience working with a variety of sexual assault cases including dated allegations. They are often interviewed by media outlets for sexual offence cases for their expertise.