The sexual assault trial of ex-Bridgewater police chief John Collyer wrapped up on Wednesday as the Crown and defence each had one last chance to make their case to Justice Mona Lynch.
However, the court won’t know Lynch’s verdict until Oct. 24.
Collyer stands accused of sexually assaulting and sexually exploiting a teenage girl in 2016. The complainant’s identity is protected by a publication ban.
Over the course of the trial, which has taken place at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Bridgewater, the court has been presented with nearly 600 messages exchanged between Collyer and a then-17-year-old girl. Many of the messages are sexual in nature.
While under oath, Collyer said he was “horrified” by the messages and he blamed his behaviour on alcohol.
And the court has also heard the young woman’s graphic description of a sexual assault in May 2016, in which Collyer is alleged to have stuck his fingers into her vagina while the two were in his sports car.
The complainant, now 20, previously testified that she remembers the assault “plain as day.”
Sgt. Gord Vail, with the Serious Incident Response Team, also testified that Collyer’s BlackBerry cellphone went missing shortly after he was informed by the police that he was under investigation. The cellphone was never recovered.
During his closing submissions, defence lawyer David Bright argued that making sexual comments doesn’t mean his client acted on them.
He also said that Collyer and the complainant’s account of the day of the sexual assault are nearly identitical except for the assault itself and that her behaviour towards him never changed.
Overall, Bright said he believed the Crown had failed to prove the sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt.
Crown attorney Roland Levesque argued that the sexual nature of the Facebook messages show Collyer’s state of mind and that he developed a sexual interest in the complainant.
In fact, said Levesque, the sexual messages indicate motive for the alleged sexual assault, which took place roughly two months after they were sent.
Discussing the complainant’s behaviour following the sexual assault, the Crown argued that there is no textbook way for a victim to react to a traumatic event.
Speaking to reporters following the trial, Levesque said courts are becoming more aware of the challenges faced by sexual assault victims.
“The courts have recognized the trauma sexual assault victims suffer from and that there’s no pattern or discernible way to predict how the victim of a sexual assault will react,” he said.
He also pointed out the proximity between the sexual messages, sent in March, and the alleged sexual assault in May.
As he has throughout the trial, Bright declined to speak to reporters.