Gang rape at Hockey Canada: Alleged 2018 victim breaks silence


Seeing her story drag in the mud and evidence scattered in the public square for weeks, the young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by eight players of the 2018 national junior team came out of her silence.

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Since text messages and two short video clips have been circulating across the country, she says she is « vulnerable and exposed », according to a brief interview she gave to The Globe and Mail.

Recall that last April, the alleged victim targeted Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight players by filing a lawsuit for $ 3.55 million. The events reportedly took place at a Hockey Canada gala in London, Ont., in June 2018.

After a drunken evening, she would have accompanied one of the players to his hotel room and would have consented to a sexual relationship. However, other players would then have joined them and repeatedly assaulted her in addition to forcibly keeping her in the room, according to her version of the facts.

By filing a civil action, she wanted consequences for the actions and some responsibility for the organization. She did not want her file to be exposed in the public square.

Quick agreement

Hockey Canada had quickly agreed to settle out of court a month after the filing of the request, thanks to the existence of a fund specially provided for this type of lawsuit.

It didn’t take long for the story to surface publicly, sucking the national body into a downward spiral. Other stories of sexual assault have also come to light and the process of handling lawsuits unearthed. Hockey Canada is at the heart of a national scandal.

Evidence surrounding the sordid story of June 2018 has been uncovered for two months.

The one identified by the initials EM had filed a complaint with the London police and collaborated in the investigation. But in February 2019, the police decided not to file charges.

However, according to copies of text messages made public, she said that she was not intoxicated and that she consented to sexual relations.

And in two short video sequences captured on the night of June 18 to 19 made public by the players’ lawyers, the woman also said that she was « consenting, having loved it and being sober. »

According to the information conveyed, the evening at the bar had been watered before going to the hotel. EM had subsequently expressed its disagreement with the thread of events by text message with one of the players.

Not the place

For criminal lawyer Danièle Roy, this file should never have been displayed in the public square where nothing is controlled.

“This is not the place. We’re doing more harm to the victim than anything else. All of this should take place in court, she said.

“Stories are never reported correctly and in full, because you never get the full version,” she added.

Especially since sexual assault cases can be complicated to conduct because of restrictive rules and biases in favor of the victim, believe some defense lawyers interviewed.

The London police have reopened their file and will have to give birth to a serious and complete investigation.

Although the 20-year-old at the time of the allegations did not want to create this gigantic storm, she will have no control and will be called to testify if criminal charges are brought soon.

Nothing is impossible

According to criminal lawyer Jean-Pierre Rancourt, nothing should be left to chance in this type of case.

“The facts date back to 2018. We will have to find witnesses and players to corroborate them. It won’t be easy to prove, but it’s not impossible. In the interrogations, the lawyers will really have to go to the bottom of things. »

Irritated by the reactions of Hockey Canada and the strategy of the lawyers of the players who presented video exhibits, the complainant wanted to rectify the facts in her interview with Tea Globe and Mail.

Polygraph

« It’s difficult to see partial and not whole facts, » said the one who underwent a private polygraph examination to try to regain her credibility.

According to the results revealed, she did not lie about her declarations and her account of the events. But in Canada, this examination cannot be admitted as evidence in court.

Double-edged blade

The words of the alleged victim resonated with retired judge Nicole Gibeault.

“It is unclear whether the video footage released to the public is representative. We see snippets of six and 12 seconds. You need the context. A segment is not easy to answer the questions. Did she accept sex with one man and not all seven, ”she argued, also questioning the state of sobriety of the victim.

“The reliability of these sequences must be assessed. What is certain is that no one in the justice system is going to be duped into accepting these exhibits as evidence,” she continued.

The retired judge also tried to understand the strategy of the lawyers, especially if criminal charges were to be brought against the eight players. In criminal law, they could be tried by a judge or a jury.

“The defense shot themselves in the foot. Presenting similar sequences is a double-edged sword. Maybe they wanted to demonstrate his state of mind. But if she was intoxicated, it really does not pass. »

Me Rancourt also questioned this strategy when it would have been preferable, according to him, to limit the declarations.

“When someone tries to exculpate themselves, the opposing party can use that as evidence. If it is published and it is false, it is dangerous. Any statement can be used in opposition, ”explained the criminal lawyer for more than 40 years.

Having cooperated with the police, the victim has indicated that she will not meet with the investigators mandated by Hockey Canada as well as those of the National Hockey League.

  • Listen to Alexandre Dubé’s interview with Nicole Gibeault, retired judge, on QUB radio:



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