VANCOUVER — A lawyer for a retired RCMP inspector accused of sexually assaulting a civilian employee says the complainant consented to a relationship with his client.
David Butcher told provincial court there is no basis for the Crown's argument that Tim Shields abused his position of authority to coerce the woman when she said he kissed and groped her in a unisex washroom at the RCMP's British Columbia headquarters in 2009.
"Mr. Shields says she's a fraud, a liar and a perjurer," Butcher said Tuesday during closing submissions. "Mr. Shields asks the court to positively find there was actual consent in this case."
Complainant says she was 'frozen and confused'
The complainant, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, has testified Shields told her he had something important to tell her when she followed him down a flight of stairs and into a ground-floor washroom but she was "frozen and confused" when he locked the door behind them.
She testified that Shields undid her bra, touched her breasts, unbuttoned her pants and put her hand on his genitals.
Shields, who is 52, joined the RCMP in 1996 and was promoted to inspector in 2009. He was charged with one count of sexual assault in May 2016 and has pleaded not guilty.
Butcher said Tuesday it's ridiculous that the woman believed Shields had any work-related matter to discuss with her in a washroom, suggesting a friendly relationship turned sexual as both people sent each other flirtatious emails.
"We say there was substantial agreement on what happened here, but equally some significant differences."
He outlined evidence from the woman, when she said she'd met with Shields in his office "maybe 20 times," sometimes with the door closed, and that she often hugged him when she walked in.
We say there was substantial agreement on what happened here, but equally some significant differences.David Butcher
Shields has said their hugs became intimate and the complainant once pushed him into a corner in his office as their embraces and conversation turned sexual.
He said after the washroom incident, the woman referred to Shields in a performance review as one of three "superb leaders," suggesting her allegations could be questioned.
Justice Patrick Doherty said it wouldn't be unusual for someone to write such comments in a performance review if they wanted to keep their job.
Closing arguments begin Wednesday
The Crown is scheduled to begin closing arguments on Wednesday.
Butcher said while Crown counsel may say some issues raised by the defence rely on myths and stereotypes about sexual assault complainants, including whether they maintain a friendly relationship with an alleged abuser, some facts must be used to assess credibility and the "factual mosaic" of a case.
Shields, who was the Mounties' media spokesman in B.C., was suspended with pay in May 2015 in the middle of a code of conduct investigation. He left the force in December of that year.
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