Testimony in rape trial leaves doubts: Defence

Wed, September 19, 2007



A young Inuk woman's account of being sexually assaulted by three men is too unreliable to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, defence lawyer Michael Spratt told a jury yesterday.

"How can you rely on her story when her memory keeps changing?" Spratt asked the jury in closing submissions in the sexual assault causing bodily harm trial of Gideon Antonatos, 24.

The woman, a Nunavut resident from a small community of about 1,500 people, said she was taken against her will to a rooming house and sexually assaulted after she asked strangers for a ride back to her hotel room from a bar.

Spratt, however, said although the woman testified she tried to open the rear door of the car while it was it was in motion, police later found the car was a two-door model.

Spratt also said neighbours in the rooming house didn't hear screaming and noted one witness said the woman was smiling when she entered the building.

Crown prosecutor Walter Devenz, however, said the woman had no reason to lie about the sexual assault. He said she had to recount very traumatic events numerous times in a language that was not her first and she did not appear to be crying wolf.

He also noted Antonato's DNA was found inside the woman and on her clothing. He said the woman admitted to being drunk on the night in question and that one of Antonato's neighbours heard a woman crying that night.