TORONTO — A Toronto police officer accused of sexually assaulting a woman nearly a decade ago told his trial Tuesday that he had consensual sex with his accuser.
Const. Vincenzo Bonazza took the stand after emotional testimony from the woman who alleged the officer forced her to comply with his demands while they were at her apartment in September 2008.
"It was consensual from the time it began to the time it ended," said Bonazza, 47, who has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault.
He told court he first met the woman, who cannot be identified, while sitting in his squad car sipping a coffee. The woman asked him about becoming a police officer and also asked for help dealing with her ex-boyfriend who had been charged with harassing her, he said.
Bonazza said he asked the woman for her name and number, which she gave to him.
"She was an attractive girl and I saw an opportunity," he told the court, adding that he pursued the woman despite the fact that he was married and had met her on the job.
Bonazza said he used police databases to "run her file" and "conduct a history" of her. A day or two later, he called her to "chit chat," which is when she invited him to her apartment, he said.
At the woman's home, Bonazza said the pair watched part of a movie the woman appeared in before he asked if he could kiss her.
"She said 'I don't know what you've been waiting for,'" he testified.
That led to consensual sex on her futon, he said.
Bonazza said he left the woman's apartment five minutes after the sexual encounter ended, telling her he couldn't commit to seeing her again because he was married.
Crown attorney Peter Scrutton scoffed at Bonazza's version of events.
"I'm suggesting the fact you got out of there, you left quickly, because you sexually assaulted her and it would have been very awkward to hang around," Scrutton said.
"That's entirely incorrect," Bonazza said.
Earlier in the day, the woman burst into tears as she rejected a defence suggestion that she fabricated the entire incident.
During cross-examination, Bonazza's lawyer, Gary Clewley, accused the woman of lying.
"I'm going to suggest to you that you made it all up," said Clewley.
"Absolutely not," the woman said through tears.
The woman told court on Monday she ran into Bonazza a few times after first meeting him and then he called her — she's not sure how he got her number — saying he had bought sushi for her. Bonazza testified he didn't buy her sushi.
A few days later, she testified, Bonazza came over to her house to watch a movie she acted in, and then he had sex and oral sex with her without her consent.
Clewley focused his cross-examination on the finer details of the woman's recollection of the events before, during and after the alleged incident and, at times, pointed out statements that he said were inconsistent with what she initially told the Special Investigations Unit, which probes allegations of sexual assault involving Ontario police officers.
"It makes no sense, based on your evidence, to buy sushi and go to your house if (Bonazza) he doesn't even know if you like sushi or even if you're home," Clewley said.
"I'm going to suggest I am trying to do the right thing and I have nothing to gain by doing any of this," the woman said as she cried.
At one point the woman broke down under the barrage of questions — her emotional distress prompting the judge to twice call a break.
"Every time I tell my story, it comes out in different ways because that's real life," she said through tears. "This isn't a script I have memorized, so it comes out in different ways. It's a natural reaction, I'm just speaking, I'm just being a human."
The woman previously testified she was afraid Bonazza was going to hurt her if she didn't have sex with him, and she only decided to come forward with her allegations after becoming a police officer in another jurisdiction.