Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Throws out Conviction, Orders New Trial in Sex Assault Case

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Court Throws out Conviction, Orders New Trial in Sex Assault Case

Article excerpt

New trial ordered in sex assault case


TORONTO - An Ontario judge inappropriately relied on "rape literature" to assess evidence in the case of a man found guilty last year of sexually assaulting a woman with whom he had a casual relationship, an appeal judge said Thursday in overturning the conviction.

Ontario Superior Justice Michael Dambrot said he was ordering a new trial for Mustafa Ururyar "with considerable regret," noting that doing so "because of inadequacies and excesses in the reasons for judgment does no service to the complainant or the appellant."

Dambrot said Justice Marvin Zuker gave no explanation for dismissing Ururyar's evidence, which included testimony that he had consensual sex with Mandi Gray, who waived the standard publication ban on the identity of sexual assault complainants.

Instead, the trial judge appeared to "reason backwards from literature about rape and how rapists behave to the identification of the accused as a rapist," Dambrot said.

"All witnesses, not just rape complainants, are entitled to have their credibility assessed on the basis of the evidence in the case, rather than on assumptions about human behaviour derived from a trial judge's personal reading of social science literature," said Dambrot.

"I agree with the trial judge that we must be vigilant to reject pernicious stereotypical thinking about the behaviour of women. At the same time, we must not adopt pernicious assumptions about men and their tendency to rape."

Dambrot also suggested Zuker may have plagiarized some parts of his ruling, which he said "reproduce or otherwise draw on" various sources -- such as a New York Times article and the statement given by the victim in the sex assault trial for former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner -- without attribution.

Zuker declined to comment on the ruling or the allegations of plagiarism, citing the ongoing court case. …

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