Victim of alleged sexual assault feared Halifax lawyer ‘would come after me,’ court hears

Published on May 8, 2014
Lyle Howe returning to the courtroom on the third day of trial Wednesday morning. The Halifax defence lawyer is accused of sexual assault, and administering a noxious substance.
Patrick McKenna for Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - The victim of an alleged sexual assault case involving a Halifax lawyer told a Supreme Court jury on Wednesday she was scared to go to the police because she feared for her safety, worrying the accused would “come after me.”

Halifax-based lawyer Lyle Howe pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of sexual assault and issuing a stupefying agent, both stemming from a March 2011 incident involving a then-19-year-old woman.

“I was afraid,” said the complainant — now 22 and whose name cannot be published — admitting she worried about what Howe would do when he discovered she had gone to the cops.

She reported being concerned enough to ask her boss at one point to move her off the night shift where she worked.

Anxiously fingering a white bead rosary wrapped around her right hand throughout her testimony on Wednesday, the complainant testified she awoke the morning of March 21, 2011, naked and disoriented on the floor of her roommate’s bedroom, with “condoms everywhere” and feeling sore in her vagina and anus.

According to the complainant, Lyle Howe and a friend had taken her out for drinks the evening before, then slipped her roofies — a date-rape drug — and sexually assaulted her in her apartment.

“(It was) one of the worst feelings of my life … waking up the next morning feeling violated,” said the otherwise straight-faced woman through tears on Wednesday.

Besides reviewing text message transcripts, Crown attorneys submitted several additional pieces of evidence on Wednesday, including a semen-stained black blazer allegedly found in the complainant’s laundry basket and a series of photographs taken of her apartment.

“We got through a lot of exhibits today,” said Crown attorney Dan Rideout.

“A lot of these exhibits will establish timelines and, among other, things objective points of view so the full picture can be in front of the jury at the end of the day.”

The complainant will remain on the stand when the trial resumes Thursday morning.

“I think there’s a fair amount left to go,” said defence attorney Mike Taylor.

“We’ll be hearing from several more civilian witnesses and a couple of expert witnesses in toxicology and some forensic biology before we’re finished.”