Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)

Prosecution wraps case at gang rape trial of U.K. sailor in Halifax

HALIFAX — A British sailor accused in a gang rape at a Halifax-area military base exposed his buttocks to another woman that night, his trial heard Wednesday as the Crown closed its case.

Sarah Rutledge testified she was at 12 Wing Shearwater hanging out with two friends and members of the Royal Navy hockey team they had met at a downtown Halifax bar a few nights before.

Rutledge said at one point in a barracks room, the lights turned off and it was ``pitch black'' for about 10 seconds, and then sailor Darren Smalley suddenly appeared in front of her.

``When the lights were turned on, Darren's butt was right in front of my face. He mooned me,'' the 25-year-old woman told Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Patrick Duncan.

Rutledge said she thought it was weird because she did not know Smalley, but she was having a fun night, so she laughed it off.

Smalley is charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a sexual assault involving one or more people in April 2015. A young woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, testified she was sexually assaulted by three men at the Shearwater barracks.

The U.K. sailors were in the Halifax area for a naval hockey tournament.

Rutledge said later in the evening, her friends and members of the hockey team were trying to go to sleep in a barracks room when sailor Simon Radford came into the room in his boxers.

She paraphrased a comment he made: ``I love Canada because everybody's having sex.''

He eventually left the room and a short time later, a group of men, including Smalley, came into the room in their boxers.

Carley MacDonald-Brown, Rutledge's friend, told a similar story about how the night unfolded in the barracks that night, but recalled more details about the conversation when the men came into their room.

She testified that Smalley made a comment about sexual activity that night with a woman.

``People laughed afterwards,'' the 27-year-old woman said. ``I didn't really think much of it. I just thought everyone was having a good time.''

Under cross-examination, MacDonald-Brown agreed with defence lawyer Ian Hutchison that she told police that one of the hockey players had said there was a woman letting them ``take turns'' and that she was asking ``who was next.''

She agreed with Hutchison that when she saw a woman matching the complainant's description earlier that evening, she appeared comfortable and was looking for a sailor, calling out his name.

``I didn't see any difficulties,'' said MacDonald-Brown.

Rutledge also said the woman, who they had seen sitting in the bleachers at a hockey game earlier that night, appeared happy when she saw her in the hallway with a friend.

``They seemed to be having fun just like we were,'' she said.

The Crown concluded its case Wednesday, and the defence is expected to open its case Thursday.

The case once involved four accused, but charges against Radford were stayed earlier in the trial because he was in hospital with a serious infection. The charges can be reinstituted within one year.

Charges against two other sailors have been dropped.


© 2018 The Canadian Press

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