Though he admits to having sex with a 13-year-old girl, a 34-year-old Regina man has been acquitted of sexual assault and sexual interference.
A publication ban was put on the case, so no information that could identify the girl or her family can be used.
The incident happened in December 2013 when the man, only referred to as Mr. N in court documents, went to hang out with a friend and the girl’s stepfather at the girl’s home.
The three men drank and went snowmobiling during the day, then later went back to the house to eat and play pool while still drinking.
Court documents say the girl was hanging out with the men as they played pool and was also drinking. At one point the girl accidentally walked in on Mr. N in the bathroom, and later joked to the other men about the size of his penis.
The girl and Mr. N left the other men and soon after were discovered by the two men having sex in the girl’s room.
Mr. N’s friend testified, “I am positive he wasn’t raping her.”
The girl’s stepfather dragged Mr. N off the bed, upstairs, and outside. Mr. N told the court that the stepfather held a long gun to Mr. N until his wife arrived and took the gun away.
Mr. N then locked himself in his truck until police arrived.
An RCMP officer who responded to the incident estimated the girl’s age to be between 13 and 17. Mr. N’s friend told court he was shocked to hear the girl was only 13, that he thought her to be between 16 and 20.
Mr. N called what happened a mistake. He told court that, though he knew she was under the legal drinking age, because of how the girl was dressed and acting, and the fact that she owned a snowmobile, and was drinking and smoking with the men, he thought that she was at least 16 years old.
In Canada, 16 years of age is the age of consent, meaning anyone under that cannot legally consent to sex. A defendant can argue they didn’t know the person was under 16, but only if they “took all reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the complainant”.
In her decision, the judge said the girl’s conduct that night was not consistent with someone who was under 16, and others estimated her age to be higher. She said she had doubts that a reasonable person in Mr. N’s position should have taken further steps to find out the girl’s age, and that Crown didn’t prove he should have – so he was acquitted of both charges.