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British sailor found not guilty in Nova Scotia sexual assault trial





A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge has found a British sailor not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in an alleged gang rape on a military base.

Darren Smalley was accused of sexual assault causing bodily harm and participating in a sexual assault involving one or more people in connection with the incident, which is alleged to have occurred in the barracks at 12 Wing Shearwater on April 10, 2015.

Smalley is one of four sailors who were members of the British Royal Navy hockey team, which was in town for a military tournament in 2015.

He did not testify in his own defence. The woman testified that she lost consciousness next to a sailor in a bed in the barracks, and when she came to, naked and face down, she was being sexually assaulted.

Charges against two of the sailors were eventually dropped. Charges against a third were stayed in September because he was in hospital with a serious infection, but those charges can be reinstituted within one year.

Complainant’s account rejected

Justice Patrick Duncan said he did not accept the woman’s testimony that she lost consciousness, or that she was fearful or panicked that night.

He said the evidence doesn’t explain how the men could have been positioned around the bed, as it was up against a wall and there was very little room around it.

He said he can’t accept the woman’s account of what happened, and that the charges have not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

“It is impossible to know where the truth begins or ends,” Duncan told the court.

The complainant was accompanied in the courtroom by a large group of supporters, at least one of whom was quietly sobbing as the judge read his verdict.

Crown lawyer Eric Taylor said credibility was the central factor in the case and the woman’s loss of consciousness — and difficulty explaining it — were challenges for the prosecution.

“In this case we felt the inconsistencies were minor and that the complainant’s credibility was clear throughout, but the court found differently,” he said.

Taylor said the Crown will take some time to decide whether to appeal the verdict.

Smalley said he’s relieved the case has come to an end.

“It’s been four years of my life,” he said. “With having this allegation hanging over you for such a long time, it’s taken a toll on me mentally and physically.”

Judge reviews testimony

Duncan reviewed evidence and testimony in the case before delivering the verdict.

He said the complainant said she had significant gaps in her memory, which she attributed to losing consciousness. Neither the complainant nor her friend, who was with her for most of the night, had consumed enough alcohol or other substances to be significantly impaired, and there was no medical evidence about why she lost consciousness, the judge said.

The woman, her friend and two sailors went on a beer run just before midnight, and afterward, the woman’s friend left with a sailor to have sex. The woman said she panicked, pounded on doors in the barracks and called her friend’s name, but no witnesses corroborated that.

The woman said she found herself in a room with two sailors, crawled into bed with one of the accused, kissed him and then fell asleep. She testified that she lost consciousness and then briefly regained it multiple times, and recalled seeing a camera flash, hearing voices and feeling something warm and wet land on her back.

The judge said the woman testified she heard the voice of Simon Radford, the man whose case has been stayed, telling her to move over because she was taking up the whole bed.

The woman testified her friend arrived in the room, told everyone to get out and helped her get dressed before they left around 1:30 a.m.

The woman went to her doctor the next morning and then had a sexual assault examination done.

Duncan said the friend’s testimony about the woman’s demeanour wasn’t consistent with the complainant’s own testimony that she was panicked. The judge said he found the friend’s evidence more credible than the woman’s.

Two other women testified at the trial, saying there was a party in the barracks in which everyone seemed happy and comfortable. They said a girl was asking “who’s next” and that Smalley said he ejaculated on a woman’s buttocks. Duncan told the court the testimony of the two female witnesses appeared consistent and suggested the woman could have been awake and consenting to activity.

Two Royal Marines who were members of the hockey team testified there was noise coming from the room where the complainant was and they asked the occupants to be quiet, but were told by the complainant, “You’re just jealous because you’re not getting any.”

Duncan said this evidence shows the woman was awake and the fact that she didn’t mention the exchange affects her credibility.

The CBC’s Blair Rhodes live blogged from court. Those on mobile devices can follow along here


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa





With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV





A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence





Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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