Man acquitted of sex assault

A South Okanagan man has been acquitted by judge of a sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl that was alleged to have occurred in Oliver in 2016.

Although she believed the victim’s testimony that she was sexually assaulted, Justice Alison Beames found that the Crown’s case against Bradley James Johnson had too many “frailties” for her to convict.

Beames took issue with the fact the victim testified her attacker was wearing white shorts, but the arresting police officer, Const. Martindale, said Johnson was wearing jeans when he took him into custody the night of the incident.

“He (Const. Martindale) had no notes that would assist him in recalling what items of clothing were taken from the accused when he was placed in cells,” Beames said.

“Perhaps through lax police work, I have no evidence that would link or not link the accused to white swim shorts, or white boxers, or any white bottom attire of any kind.”

Const. Martindale also seized the victim's underpants, but never sent them for DNA processing.

The adult the victim initially reported the sexual assault to also testified she saw Johnson in white shorts, but Beames disregarded her testimony, stating she formed a strong belief early on that Johnson was the attacker.

“That belief may have affected her evidence to some degree,” Beames said.

The judge noted that the victim was never asked to identify her attacker until he was sitting in the prisoner box at the preliminary inquiry, “a notoriously frail form of eyewitness identification.”

She added the victim did not recall seeing tattoos on her attacker, which Johnson had several. She also questioned why the Crown did not call the party host’s fiancé to testify, who ultimately confronted Johnson about the alleged sexual assault that night.

“None of the frailties in the Crown’s case are the fault of [victim], who clearly was the victim of a sexual assault. She was a good witness, and I consider her to be very courageous,” Beames stated.

The victim had been hired to babysit at a large party at a home in Oliver. She testified that after falling asleep on a sectional after the party had ended, she was woken up by a man she had never met before sexually assaulting her.

Johnson’s own evidence, which the judge called “not very satisfactory,” was that he was in the hot tub at the rear of the home with a small group of people after the party ended.

After fooling around with an adult female in the hot tub, he walked into the home naked and passed out in a bed. He said he was awoken by the accusations of sexual assault.

“I think it is unlikely that he walked into another person's home, knowing children lived there, completely naked in the middle of the night,” the judge said.

Regardless, Beames said the Crown failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Johnson that was responsible for the sexual assault and found him not guilty on both charges.

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