The defence is trying to prove that a woman accusing her husband of sexually assaulting her while she was either drunk or passed out—and filming it without her knowledge—was in fact awake, aware of what was going on and had consented to the sexual acts that were recorded.
(Editor’s note: This article contains some graphic material)
The Saskatoon sex assault trial started Monday at Court of Queen’s Bench. 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 has been on the stand since Monday morning, when she testified that she did not remember participating in sex acts that were recorded on videos and uncovered by police during a search in August 2014.
During cross-examination Tuesday, defence lawyer Davin Burlingham questioned the alleged victim about inconsistencies between what she said at the trial and what she told police during an interview last year.
At that time, she was being shown the videos police had found inside her husband’s home in rural Saskatchewan. In them, the woman was wearing dark make-up and was performing oral sex on her husband. One video showed a cucumber being inserted into her vagina.
But the woman testified she looked either passed out or drunk in the videos shown in court. She also said she believes her husband secretly put the make-up on her without her knowing.
Burlingham brought up her police interview, when she was asked if maybe the sex acts were something she wanted to do for her husband even though she didn’t know she was being recorded. In the interview tape, she said yes, possibly, but in court Tuesday she said she was confused and traumatized when she answered those questions.
At another point in the interview the woman said she was aware and participating but was extremely intoxicated and didn’t know she was being recorded. When asked if she remembered performing oral sex on her husband, she answered “yeah.”
“Do you feel that you could have given consent?” the officer asks the woman.
“It’s so hard to know … I didn’t stop him,” she replies.
The sex tapes were discovered after the woman reported her husband to police. She testified she wanted to take her three kids and go back to Ireland, where the couple was from, because her husband was trying to force her to live in an underground bunker and threatened her if she left.
On the stand, she admitted going to police out of fear that her husband was going to kidnap the children and take them to the bunker. But during cross-examination, she said she did not initially tell police about the two alleged sexual assaults that she remembered.
On Monday, she testified that she had vague memories of her husband touching her face, putting his penis into her mouth and then pulling her to the edge of the bed and penetrating her. She said it happened at their rural property in May 2014 after she had a couple glasses of champagne.
The alleged victim recalled another time in October 2013 when she felt her husband touching her face, followed by a sensation of something cold near her genitals. Again, she said she had a few sips of bitter-tasting alcohol the night before.
The woman testified under cross-examination that she thinks she was drugged but doesn’t know for sure. That unknown is the reason she told police that she believed she was only intoxicated from alcohol, she told the court.
Court heard that police found pill bottles when they searched the trunk of a car belonging to the accused. An officer called as a witness identified them as weight loss pills. The woman told the defence she had ordered the pills, but their relevance to the trial has yet to be discussed.
The alleged victim will remain on the stand when the trial continues Wednesday morning.