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To the surprise of few, the three Toronto cops accused of sexually assaulting a parking enforcement officer were found not guilty Wednesday morning.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy seemed almost reluctant and apologetic as she found too many frailties and inconsistencies in the woman’s “patchy memory” about the barhopping night in January 2015 that she spent with Constables Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara, leaving the judge with doubts as to whether the sex that later occurred in a hotel room had been without her consent.
“In order to convict, I would need to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that her evidence was both credible and reliable with respect to the issue of consent,” Molloy said. “Given the frailties in her evidence, I simply cannot be sure of that important fact to the degree of certainty necessary to make a finding of criminal responsibility.
“Accordingly, I find the three defendants not guilty.”
To which, a cry of “Yes!” was heard from the gallery of the men’s supporters while the three officers exchanged smiles and looks of relief.
The complainant, who had withstood days of gruelling cross examination from three lawyers during the month-long trial, wisely chose not be in the courtroom to hear the verdict and witness their elation.
Her undoing were the security videos that told a different story than the one she gave police and the court. The footage showed the woman getting out of a taxi in her high heeled boots and then standing outside the hotel elevator – without exhibiting any physical problems.
But on the witness stand, she described being powerless to stop the sexual assaults because she was completely incapacitated by alcohol and possibly a drug slipped into her drink.
“The complainant’s evidence is too fraught with problems to stand alone. I have looked in vain for corroboration,” Molloy said. “Indeed, what objective evidence there is (the video footage and the toxicologist’s opinion evidence) contradicts rather than corroborates the complainant’s evidence.”
Which is not to say that she completely believed the tale told by Nyznik, the only officer to testify, that the parking officer initiated and consented to all the sexual acts that took place. But while they may be scumbags, she couldn’t find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“The question is not whether they behaved admirably, or even ethically,” she said. “I cannot make a finding of guilt based on evidence such as this. Based on the complainant’s evidence, I cannot be sure about what happened in that hotel room.
“It is simply not safe to convict.”
Nyznik’s lawyer Harry Black said his client is looking forward to putting this ordeal behind him and getting back to work. There’s no word on when that will be – the three officers are currently suspended with pay.
And they’re not completely in the clear: They still could face police act charges.
Michele Mandel’s tweets from court:
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