De­fence opens case at sailor’s sex as­sault trial

Cape Breton Post - - Province -

A Bri­tish ma­rine has tes­ti­fied that a woman who al­leges she was gang raped by at least three sailors made a sex­ual com­ment when he knocked on the door of a noisy bar­racks room at a Hal­i­faxarea mil­i­tary base.

Cpl. Bran­don Hubbs, a mem­ber of the Royal Marines unit of the Royal Navy, took the stand in Nova Sco­tia Supreme Court Thurs­day as the de­fence opened its case in the trial of U.K. sailor Dar­ren Smal­ley.

Hubbs said he was try­ing to sleep at 12 Wing Shear­wa­ter, but there were “loud noises’’ com­ing from the room where the al­leged sex­ual as­sault hap­pened in April 2015.

He said he and an­other mem­ber of the Bri­tish navy hockey team, who were in the Hal­i­fax area par­tic­i­pat­ing in a naval hockey tour­na­ment, knocked on their door around 12:30 p.m. on April 10, 2015.

“(My team­mate) said ‘Keep the noise down,’ and (the com­plainant) said some­thing along the lines of, ‘You’re just jeal­ous you’re not get­ting some’,’’ said Hubbs.

Hubbs, tes­ti­fy­ing in uni­form by video link from an un­spec­i­fied lo­ca­tion, said he rec­og­nized the voice as the com­plainant in the case be­cause he saw and heard her in the hall­way ear­lier.

Smal­ley, 38, is charged with sex­ual as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm and par­tic­i­pat­ing in a sex­ual as­sault in­volv­ing one or more peo­ple.

Hubbs told the court that the lights were off in the room, but he could see in­side af­ter the door was opened.

“Dar­ren Smal­ley was around his bed. I can’t re­call if he was sit­ting or stand­ing. There was a fig­ure in Si­mon Rad­ford’s bed. I couldn’t tell who it was, but it sounded like (the com­plainant) just by her voice. There were no other fe­males in the room as far as I know,’’ said Hubbs, adding that two other sailors were in the room and on their re­spec­tive beds.

The com­plainant, whose name is pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban, has tes­ti­fied she went to sleep in the bed next to Rad­ford, and awoke to at least three men sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her.

Af­ter the con­ver­sa­tion in the door­way, Hubbs said he walked back to his own room and went to sleep.

Un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion by pros­e­cu­tor Cheryl Schur­man, Hubbs agreed there were four other women in the bar­racks that night, and that he didn’t know what their voices sounded like be­cause he didn’t speak to them.

Schur­man pressed Hubbs about the de­tails of his tes­ti­mony and ap­peared to point to in­con­sis­ten­cies.

She noted he told po­lice dur­ing an in­ter­view days af­ter the al­leged as­sault that he was 70 to 90 per cent sure the woman in Rad­ford’s bed was the com­plainant, but on the stand Thurs­day, he tes­ti­fied he was 90 per cent sure.

Schur­man also asked if any­one was hav­ing sex when he looked into the room.

Hubbs re­sponded: “Not that I could see, nope.’’

The trial is not sit­ting to­day. More de­fence wit­nesses are ex­pected to be called when pro­ceed­ings re­sume on Mon­day.

The case once in­volved four ac­cused, but charges against Rad­ford were stayed ear­lier in the trial be­cause he was in hos­pi­tal with a se­ri­ous in­fec­tion. The charges can be re­in­sti­tuted within one year.

Charges against two other sailors have been dropped.

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