'Poetic justice' in date-rape drug case
Accidentally drank date-rape drug intended for victim
Guilty on 8 counts, faces sentencing later this month

Oct. 4, 2004. 06:44 AM


Toronto Star

Toronto musician Gary Byer called them "his cocktails," the special drinks he made for his female companions who visited him at his apartment.


But the drinks were secretly spiked with a "stupefying drug," the women knocked out and unable to resist as they were sexually assaulted by Byer, a judge has ruled.


Call it poetic justice, but during one of the assaults on the four unsuspecting women, Byer got a taste of his own medicine, literally.


Mr. Justice John Hamilton, in his ruling, described how Byer accidentally drank part of one of the spiked drinks he made for one of his victims.


She got knocked out by the drug, but so did Byer, who was unconscious for nearly two hours, the court heard.


When Byer took the stand in his own defence, he told Hamilton in the non-jury trial that he couldn't recall any details involving three of the women, losing his memory after suffering a stroke. The fourth woman consented to having sex, he had testified.


The judge, however, didn't believe him.


In his ruling convicting Byer last week, the judge described the 56-year-old man as "evasive, not a credible witness."


Hamilton found him guilty of four counts of sexual assault and four counts of administering a knockout drug to the women, whose identities are protected by the court. Byer will be sentenced Oct. 21.


Hamilton said the four women who testified against Byer all described similar reactions after having one of his drinks.


One woman described how she passed out, only to awake and find Byer on top of her, said Hamilton.


"She tried to push him off," said the judge, describing how the woman said her actions felt like she was "running in water."


The woman recalled how she had an "acrid taste" in her mouth after awakening and felt "cotton-headed," said Hamilton.


Another woman said she felt a "tingling in her body," testifying how she felt "heavy, lethargic," said the judge.


The judge said the victims experienced similar symptoms: they got dizzy, tired, wanted to sleep and had "no control of their bodies."


One of the women testified how she had no "sexual attraction" toward Byer, describing him as "creepy," said the judge.


A second victim said she never flirted with Byer or talked about sex when she accepted an invitation to go to his apartment to watch a movie, said Hamilton.


She said Byer reminded her of her father, added the judge.