At Penticton’s courthouse, a B.C. Supreme Court has rendered a not-guilty verdict for a man accused of a string of sexual assaults on a minor in 2011 and 2012. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

UPDATED: Man found not guilty of sex assaults on South Okanagan minor

The alleged incidents were reported to have occurred between 2011 and 2012

**This article contains graphic content that may not be suitable or comfortable for some readers.**

Emotions were palpable in a Penticton courtroom, as man accused of sexual assault on a minor and sexual exploitation has been found not guilty.

The trial for the man, who can only be referred to as T.B. due to a publication ban, ran the duration of last week, and covered a string of alleged incidents from 2011 to 2012.

In her decision, Justice Alison Beames said she found too many inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the now-15-year-old alleged victim.

Related: Man accused of sex with young boy awaiting verdict

“There is no question that the close relationship between the accused and the complainant, a child 11 years younger than him, was unusually close,” Beames said.

“The extent of the relationship, even to the extent admitted by the accused, is at least enough to raise suspicions. However, as I have already said, the Crown must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Suspicions are not enough.

“Having reviewed all of the evidence, more than once, I will say, I have concluded that I cannot be sure what happened. I do not know who to believe. That means that the Crown has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I do have a reasonable doubt.”

Related: Accused denies boy’s sex assault claims

As Beames said she found T.B. not guilty, numerous members of the complainant’s family let out exasperated sighs, and stormed out of the courtroom.

Walking out of the courtroom, the boy’s mother was heard yelling “Are you f—-ing kidding me?”

In her decision, Beames made note of a 1991 Supreme Court of Canada decision, R. v. W.(D.), which set the benchmark for trials of sexual assault, in which both the accused and the complainant have testified.

According to the W.(D.) ruling, even if the accused’s testimony is not found to be believable, but if it raises reasonable doubt in the testimony of the complainant, the trial judge must acquit.

Related: Boy details graphic allegations of sex assaults

“If I don’t know who to believe, I must acquit him,” Beames said. “There are genuine concerns with respect to the complainant. He was confronted in cross-examination with numerous inconsistencies.”

Beames said considering the boy’s age and the time between the alleged offences and the trial, the court must take into account that there will be some level of inconsistencies in his testimony.

“But not to the degree that I find exists in this case,” she said, adding she found some inconsistencies between the boy and his mother.

Family members of the boy were visibly upset at the decision in Penticton’s B.C. Supreme Court chambers, and some expressed disdain at comments from defence lawyer Don Skogstad following the hearing.

Related: Publication ban remains on alleged sex offender’s name

“Let’s hope this is the first day this kid can get his life back after six years,” Skogstad said.

In his closing remarks Friday morning, Crown lawyer John Swanson had attempted to dodge inconsistencies in some of the boy’s testimony, including testimony surrounding an iPod T.B. gifted to the boy, by characterizing it as peripheral.

On the main issues — the claims of sexual assault and exploitation — Swanson said the boy was steadfast in his allegations.

But Beames took Skogstad’s view of inconsistencies in the boy’s story to provide some shadow of doubt in T.B.’s guilt, particularly as she noted that T.B. was not confronted with any inconsistencies in his own testimony.

In trial, the boy accused T.B. of instructing him to masturbate him, as well as touching his penis. On one occasion, the boy claimed T.B. ejaculated on his back, and on at least two occasions the boy said T.B. penetrated him anally.

T.B. admitted to sleeping in the same bed as the boy in numerous occasions, as well as buying him gifts, which the Crown characterized as “grooming” behaviour, but denied any sexual contact with the boy.

Prior to the trial, the Western News was one of two publications applying to remove the publication ban on T.B.’s name, arguing the ban would be a detriment to the open court principle and freedom of expression.

However, the defence and Crown both argued in favour of the publication ban, with concerns that the publication of T.B.’s name could lead some to the identity of the underaged complainant.


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vehicle crashes over embankment in Penticton

Emergency responders are on scene after a vehicle went over an embankment along Carmi Avenue.

Children’s Showcase asks: Can you help Santa save Christmas?

Dufflebag Theatre invites audience into ‘Twas the night before Christmas

Share-a-Smile Telethon ends with over $63,000 raised.

The fundraising event saw a wide variety of performers and a packed audience for the five hour drive

Penticton Chamber Theatre coming to Summerland

The Penticton Chamber Theatre company is straying outside the city to bring… Continue reading

Penny has been found!

Carolyn Hawkins located the missing pooch in the Uplands Court area of Penticton

Weekday weather update

A look at your weather for the week of Nov. 19 in the Okanagan - Shuswap

Chocolate lab missing along Coquihalla

Brad Gibson is asking for help locating his missing dog.

B.C. connection to launch of new $10 bill

Great nephew of Viola Desmond says bill is a ‘step in the right direction’

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology, safety audits

A judge found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma

First ski hill in B.C. opened this weekend

Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, was the first ski hill in the province to open for season

$50k fine and community service for Vancouver Island tax evader

David Gonyea was given a nine-month conditional sentence

Most Read