3 Toronto of­fi­cers found not guilty of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a col­league

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - LIAM CASEY

TORONTO — Three Toronto po­lice of­fi­cers have been found not guilty of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a fe­male col­league on a night of heavy drink­ing.

An On­tario judge said the woman’s tes­ti­mony was “fraught with prob­lems.”

Jus­tice Anne Mol­loy told a Toronto court Wed­nes­day she “looked in vain for cor­rob­o­ra­tion” of the woman’s ver­sion of events on Jan. 17, 2015, but couldn’t find any ev­i­dence to sup­port her ac­count.

Leslie Nyznik, Joshua Cabero and Sameer Kara had pleaded not guilty to a charge each of sex­ual as­sault. All three hugged sup­port­ers af­ter the ver­dict was handed down. The com­plainant was not in court.

Nyznik, the only ac­cused to tes­tify, said dur­ing the trial it was the fe­male col­league’s idea to re­turn to a ho­tel room rented out by two of the ac­cused where she in­sti­gated sex with all three men.

The woman — a park­ing en­force­ment of­fi­cer whose iden­tity is pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban — had tes­ti­fied she had sev­eral drinks dur­ing the course of the night and was un­able to stop the men from hav­ing sex with her.

“I was pow­er­less, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t stop what was hap­pen­ing,” she tes­ti­fied.

The judge said the case came down to the reli­a­bil­ity and cred­i­bil­ity of the woman, which she found lack­ing. There were many prob­lems with the com­plainant’s ev­i­dence, Mol­loy said, find­ing some as­pects “sim­ply un­true.”

“Given frail­ties of ev­i­dence I sim­ply can­not be sure to make a find­ing of crim­i­nal guilt,” she said.

Mol­loy said, how­ever, that she didn’t nec­es­sar­ily be­lieve Nyznik’s tes­ti­mony, which “ap­peared to be scripted or re­hearsed” and rang false at times. But the judge said she could not re­ject it as un­truth­ful.

Nyznik’s lawyer said out­side court that his client looks for­ward to hav­ing his life back and go­ing back to work.

“Mr. Nyznik is very happy to fi­nally have this process be­hind him,” Harry Black said.

“He took the stand and he faced the al­le­ga­tions and he has an­swered them and he is now vin­di­cated.”

Dur­ing trial, court heard Kara had in­vited the com­plainant to join in on a “rookie buy night” where rookie of­fi­cers buy drinks for the veterans. The two, who worked out of the same di­vi­sion, had be­come friends, court heard.

The woman tes­ti­fied that she be­lieved she had been drugged, but she said she didn’t know when, where, how or by whom.

The judge didn’t buy her ver­sion of events, com­par­ing it to se­cu­rity video. The judge also said the woman’s tes­ti­mony that she was drugged was not plau­si­ble.

Nyznik said on the stand that the woman didn’t ap­pear in­tox­i­cated dur­ing the night and in­sti­gated sex and oral sex with the of­fi­cers.

JUSTIN SMIRLIES, MAN­ISHA KR­ISH­NAN/AN­DREW FRAN­CIS

Po­lice of­fi­cers (from left) Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik and Sameer Kara.

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