POLITICS

Patrick Brazeau's Assault Trial: Crown Witness Cries On Stand

03/24/2015 11:37 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
GATINEAU, Que. - The defence team for suspended senator Patrick Brazeau challenged the credibility of his alleged victim Tuesday, zeroing in on specific details including her use of a fake passport to travel to Canada.

Attorney Gerard Larocque, who's defending Brazeau at his trial for assault and sexual assault charges, also pressed the Crown's key witness on why she never told prosecutors, nor police, that she ripped off a necklace during the violent incident that led to his client's arrest.

The information emerged as the defence cross-examined the woman, whose identity is protected under a publication ban.

Earlier in the day, the woman wiped away tears as she listened to her own panicked voice on emergency recordings that were played in court.

The woman has given detailed testimony how Brazeau allegedly pushed her down a flight of stairs, spat in her face and smacked her head into a wall during a confrontation two years ago at a Gatineau home.

She has also alleged Brazeau grabbed her breast with force, pulled her pants down and sexually assaulted her.

The complainant took the stand Tuesday for a second day against Brazeau, who was kicked out of the Conservative caucus shortly after his arrest.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On Tuesday, Brazeau's defence lawyer took aim at the woman's credibility. Larocque asked the woman about travelling to a third country from her native country to obtain a fake passport, so she could then travel to Canada.

Speaking through an interpreter, she acknowledged she had done so, but that she was up front with Canadian customs officials about it as soon as she arrived.

Larocque also questioned her why she didn't reveal in statements, nor in interviews, with police and the Crown that she tore a chain off her neck amid a heated exchange with Brazeau. She said she yanked it off her neck because she was "angry" and "scared" after Brazeau allegedly pushed her.

The woman also countered by saying she had only been asked for her "general" account of what happened that day in February 2013. She said she had left out other elements related to Brazeau's alleged attack and had been expecting to go into detail about them at the trial.

"I didn't mention it because I didn't see it as important," she said as she stood in the witness box in Gatineau, north of Ottawa.

Earlier Tuesday, the complainant dabbed her face with a tissue as she listened to her exchange with a emergency services operator the day of the incident, in two brief audio clips played in the courtroom.

Moments later, after the woman asked for a break, the judge called for a brief recess.

"It made me relive how I felt that day," she later said, speaking through an interpreter, after Crown prosecutor Stephany Robitaille asked her to explain the rush of emotion.

"I felt a lot of fear."

Her voice shaking, she told the operator she had been hit a few times and pushed down a flight of stairs. The woman said she had marks on her arms, but that she did not need medical treatment.

When the man on the other end of the line asked for the alleged attacker's name, she replied: "Patrick Brazeau."

The court also heard more details Tuesday about a damaged photo found in the residence that featured Brazeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a police photograph of the Harper photo, the prime minister's face appears to have been torn out of the image and then pieced back together.

The woman testified that the Harper photo was in good condition before the incident and said she didn't know if Brazeau had ripped the photo. She also said he took framed photos off the wall right before police arrived at the residence.

On Monday, the judge heard testimony from a Gatineau police officer, who presented photos in court showing bruises and red marks on different parts of the woman's body.

More photos of the woman's injuries were presented in court Tuesday.

The Crown initially expected the trial to finish Wednesday, but proceedings are now expected to continue for a fourth day — on a date to be determined later.

Brazeau's legal troubles will be far from over, however. He still faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in connection with his Senate expense claims.

Last year the Senate ordered Brazeau to repay almost $50,000 over disputed expense claims. He refused and the Senate garnisheed his salary until November 2013, when he was suspended without pay.

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Scene After Brazeau's April 2014 Arrest