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Jury finds father not guilty of incest, other sex crimes

Filed under: Press Release

A father charged with sex crimes involving his teenaged daughter was found not guilty by a jury yesterday.

After listening to closing arguments from the defence counsel and the Crown prosecutor, the nine-man, three-woman jury took three hours to return the verdict on charges of incest and sexual exploitation against the 32-year-old man. A charge of sexual assault was withdrawn by the judge.

The man later described his three-day trial as "bizarre" and said he was happy it was over. Nevertheless, the father, who cannot be named to avoid identifying his now 16-year-old daughter, acknowledged that "I have a very troubled daughter."

The girl, born following a brief relationship when her father was 15 and her mother 18, saw little of her father growing up. In the summer of 2003, the then 14-year-old asked her mother's sister to help her contact him, despite her mother's disapproval. When her mother found e-mails the girl had sent to her father about the alleged incident, she called police.

In a closing argument, the father's defence lawyer, Geraldine Castle-Trudel, reiterated her client's innocence and stressed the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the man had had sex with the daughter on the night of Oct. 3, 2003, when she stayed at his apartment.

Ms. Castle-Trudel questioned the testimony of the girl's aunt, who said she thought the behaviour of the father and daughter during a backyard party smacked of a "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship.

The aunt also testified she brought the girl to Ottawa a few weeks later when she was bringing her own son to the hospital, and all three stayed at the father's apartment. Ms. Castle-Trudel asked why the three would stay at his apartment if the aunt was concerned about inappropriate behaviour between the father and daughter.

"Why would you encourage visiting between the two?" Ms. Castle-Trudel asked the jury.

The lawyer suggested the daughter's description of her weekend with her father, particularly the night of Oct. 3 when the daughter claimed to have had consensual sexual intercourse with him, was a "fantasy." This fantasy, the lawyer suggested, was born of the daughter's desire to move away from her mother, with whom she was having problems, and live in her father's two-bedroom apartment in Ottawa.

"She was a troubled young girl. Things were not going well at home," said Ms. Castle-Trudel. "(Her father) was back in her life, and she was daydreaming about life in Ottawa."

For his part, Crown prosecutor Riad Tallim questioned why the father -- who claimed he was innocent on the basis of his taking medication that caused erectile dysfunction -- would ask for a paternity test after the charges were laid in October 2003.

"If you didn't have sex (with the girl), then what difference does it make that she is your daughter?" Mr. Tallim said to the jury. "The issue of her being his daughter was only an issue after the charges."

 © (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of the writer and should not be seen as an authority on the subject matter contained herein. You should always consult a lawyer. This article is in no way the opinion of Castle –Trudel Criminal Lawyers.

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