NEWS
11/29/2017 10:55 EST | Updated 11/29/2017 11:21 EST

Crown says ex-Mountie mistakenly believed woman consented to sexual activity

VANCOUVER — The Crown says a retired RCMP inspector had a mistaken belief that a civilian employee consented to sexual activity in a washroom at the force's British Columbia headquarters.

Michelle Booker says Tim Shields did not take any steps to see if the woman provided consent for him to allegedly kiss and grope her in 2009.

Shields was charged with one count of sexual assault in May 2016 and has pleaded not guilty in provincial court.

Court has heard that the complainant, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, filed a civil lawsuit against the RCMP and Shields in 2014 that was settled in December 2016.

The woman provided a statement to police in 2015 as part of a code of conduct investigation but Booker told the court today it must not use the delay to gauge the woman's credibility because that would be relying on myths and stereotypes about when complainants should disclose their experience.

Court has heard both Shields and the woman exchanged flirty emails before the alleged assault.

Defence lawyer David Butcher told the court on Tuesday that there is no basis for the Crown's argument that Shields abused his position of authority to coerce the woman when she said he kissed and groped her in the washroom.

"Mr. Shields says she's a fraud, a liar and a perjurer," Butcher said in closing submissions. "Mr. Shields asks the court to positively find there was actual consent in this case."

The complainant has testified Shields told her he had something important to tell her when she followed him down a flight of stairs and into the 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, 52, joined the RCMP in 1996 and was promoted to inspector in 2009.

Butcher 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.

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.

Shields, who was the Mounties' media spokesman in B.C., was suspended with pay in May 2015 in the middle of the code of conduct investigation. He left the force in December of that year.

— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter

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