Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Complainant in Tears after Defence Suggests Sex-Assault Testimony Was 'Scripted'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Complainant in Tears after Defence Suggests Sex-Assault Testimony Was 'Scripted'

Article excerpt

Cross-examination leaves complainant in tears

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HALIFAX - A young Halifax woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by British sailors broke down in tears Friday after a defence lawyer suggested her testimony was "scripted."

Under cross examination by lawyer Ian Hutchison, the woman agreed she had gaps in her memory of what happened on the night of April 9, 2015, in the barracks of a Halifax-area military base, and that she cannot explain those gaps.

Hutchison suggested that her testimony was "rehearsed."

"It is not," she replied, breaking down on the stand.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Patrick Duncan then ordered a break in the proceedings. The woman exited the courtroom encompassed by supporters, sobbing loudly.

Darren Smalley, 38, is charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a sexual assault involving one or more people at 12 Wing Shearwater.

Hutchison asked how she prepared to testify at the trial and at an earlier preliminary inquiry.

She agreed she discussed possible "difficult" questions with her psychiatrist and psychologist, and Hutchison suggested she was using those professionals as a "sound board to determine how good your answers would be."

"I would disagree with that suggestion," she replied, now more calm and composed in her testimony.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, agreed she highlighted portions of her police statement ahead of testifying at the preliminary inquiry, and Hutchison asked her why.

"As a student, you just highlight important passages," she said. "I don't know if I had a specific thought process in mind."

He also asked her questions about what a military police officer told her about the ongoing investigation.

She agreed the investigator called to inform her about the results of a toxicology report, and that a DNA test came back positive for Smalley's DNA. …

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