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Ex-Dal student found guilty of sex assault


A Halifax jury has found a former Dalhousie University student guilty of sexually assaulting and unlawfully confining another student.

Christopher Davidson, 20, was accused of having sexual intercourse with a young woman without her consent in September 2015.

Davidson’s trial began Feb. 8 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Jurors deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before returning with the verdicts Wednesday afternoon.

The jury consisted of seven men and five women.

They had sombre looks on their faces as they filed into the courtroom for the decision.

One of the jurors, a woman, broke down and sobbed after the verdicts were announced by the foreman.

Davidson is from Calgary but now lives in Dartmouth and works in retail. He maintained his composure after hearing the verdicts but his mother, who was in the gallery with his sister, covered her face and cried.

Justice Glen McDougall ordered a presentence report and scheduled sentencing for mid-May.

Davidson will remain free on his original undertaking to have no contact with the complainant, who’s also 20. Her identity is protected by a publication ban.

“The victim in our case showed tremendous courage throughout this process,” Crown attorney Glenn Hubbard told The Chronicle Herald. “On her behalf, I would like to thank the jury for their time and consideration.”

The complainant and Davidson were both first-year students at the Halifax university at the time of the encounter. They ended up in her bed at Howe Hall two days after meeting 

during a group rollerblading outing at the Halifax Oval. Both were intoxicated after drinking vodka shots in her room and attending a frat party.

The woman testified that Davidson was on top of her and they were about to have intercourse when he blurted out that he had never had sex before and had been waiting to have it with his girlfriend.

Upon mention of the girlfriend, the complainant said she put her hand on Davidson’s chest and told him they would not be having sex. She said she asked him to stop but he persisted.

She said Davidson pinned her to the bed by putting his hands on her hips and swept her hands away when she tried to cover her genitals.

After realizing she wouldn't be able to stop him, the woman said she took a condom off a bedside desk and placed it on him because she didn’t want to have unprotected sex.

On cross-examination, she admitted that she helped guide Davidson’s penis into her vagina because he was hurting her.

Davidson did not testify in his own defence. Lawyer William Leahey told the court his client has no memory of what happened.

Leahey called character evidence from four people who described Davidson as respectful and considerate of others.

In his instructions to the jury Tuesday, the judge included the lawyers’ theories.

The defence’s position is that the woman’s various accounts of the events of Sept. 27, 2015, were “riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions” that cast doubt on her credibility.

“When these inconsistencies and contradictions are analyzed,” Leahey said in his theory, “the only logical conclusion is that they arise from the intent of (the complainant) to misrepresent a drunken, consensual encounter as a sexual assault.”

Hubbard, the prosecutor, submitted the alleged victim was a credible witness whose testimony was not contradicted. He said the Crown met its burden of proving the case against Davidson beyond a reasonable doubt.

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