The trial has begun for a Saskatoon man accused of filming himself performing non-consensual sex acts with his wife while she was unconscious or intoxicated.
The accused cannot be named in order to protect the identity of his wife. He faces two counts of uttering death threats, two counts of sexual assault and another count of sexual assault with a weapon.
His wife took the stand Monday morning at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench, describing how she did not remember being recorded in any of the videos that police uncovered during a search in August 2014.
Court heard the couple had immigrated to Saskatchewan from Ireland in 2012. Despite not wanting to leave her job and family, the woman said she brought her three kids to Canada so that her husband could buy land.
But as time went on, she said her husband became paranoid and obsessed with preparing for an economic collapse. He started buying gold and silver, and she testified that he also wanted to build a bunker to live in.
When she told him things were going too far, the alleged victim said he would lash out at her, saying she was against him and had no brain of her own. She testified that during at least four arguments, he said if she kept pushing him she would end up like his ex-girlfriend, who had gone missing almost 20 years ago in Ireland.
“’You know I’ve done it before, they’ll never find you, is that what you want?’,” the woman testified her husband had said.
The situation came to a head in November 2013, when the alleged victim decided to return to Ireland out of fear of what her husband might do. She said while she was terrified of him, she was also terrified about what he might do to himself. Shortly before she left, the accused told her he would shoot himself in the head, she testified.
“Things were volatile,” the woman said, describing how he would threaten a divorce and apologize shortly after.
Then one night, she said she woke up to her husband standing beside her bed in the dark. The accused was a truck driver and wasn’t supposed to be home, she said.
While she was in Ireland visiting family, the alleged victim said she would email her husband to tell him that she was scared. He pleaded for her to give him another chance, she told the court, and admitted that his conspiracy theories were causing problems and promised to go to counselling. His wife testified that she agreed to return to Canada on the condition that he seek help.
But according to the alleged victim, nothing changed when she came back. Instead, her husband bought a house in a small town, even though his wife did not want to live in a remote, rural area. She testified that he also refused to see a counsellor.
One of the alleged sexual assaults happened at their new rural property in May 2014. After two glasses of champagne to celebrate the move, the woman said she felt exhausted and went to bed. In vague flashes of memory, she said she had an awareness of her husband touching her face and eyes and putting his penis into her mouth. She then described being pulled by her calves to the edge of the bed and being penetrated by her husband.
The woman told the court that she believes her husband thought she was unconscious at the time. She said she was too scared to confront him about it the next day; instead, she told him the relationship wasn’t working and that she was going back to Ireland.
She said her husband responded by saying “’the only way you’re leaving here is in a box’.”
The woman fled the home after discovering that her and her children’s passports were missing, she testified. She went to police in July 2014 and stayed with friends and at crisis shelters for the time being.
Police searched the rural home of the accused the next month. Then during an RCMP interview in October 2014, the alleged victim said she was presented with a series of disturbing videos taken of her without her knowledge. In four of the video clips she was performing oral sex on her husband. One clip showed a hand sticking a cucumber into her vagina. She testified that it was her husband’s hand because he was wearing his wedding ring.
But she told the court that she looked either drunk or passed out in all of the recordings and did not remember participating in any of the sexual acts.
“It was a complete betrayal and violation of me,” the woman said, covering her face with her hands as she cried. “It’s humiliating.”
In every video shown at the trial, the alleged victim was wearing dark, garish make-up that sometimes included blue eye shadow and fake eyelashes. At times she was also wearing long, fake pink nails. The woman testified that she never wore that kind of make-up, nor did she have any memory of putting it on.
Although the videos were shocking, the woman testified that she had discovered similar videos in 2009 when the couple lived in Ireland. In them, she said she was wearing “horrendous makeup” and a blond wig. She also found one of her husband’s bags filled with strange make-up and fake nails hidden under a mattress in a spare bedroom.
She said when she asked him about it, he told her it was none of her business and that she should be grateful that he was interested in his wife instead of other women. Memories of that incident came flooding back to her during her time in Saskatchewan, when she said she would “black out” after a couple glasses of wine and find traces of unfamiliar make-up on her face the next morning.