A man was found not guilty Tuesday of sexually assaulting his ex-wife's sister 11 years ago.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale found there was not enough evidence to prove the man's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, saying he had concerns about the lack of detail provided during the trial.
The court had heard the man, who cannot be named under a court-ordered publication ban against information that may identify the complainant, was living in Grande Prairie with his then wife when he traveled to Prince George on a business trip.
He stayed at the home of his wife's parents, where the sister was also living at the time, while the parents were away. The two went out to a local nightspot where they drank enough that when they returned to the home, she vomited in the bathroom before going to sleep in her bedroom.
She later woke up, the court heard, with the accused on top of her and sexually assaulting her. She told him to get out of her bedroom and he left. When they woke up later that morning, she told him that either he would tell her sister or she would and the accused did not respond to the comment.
The man's now ex-wife testified that when she first found out, she confronted the man and called him a rapist but decided to stay with him because she was pregnant. She testified that the man told her that he was drunk and upset about how things were at work and confused her sister with her but did not have sex with her sister although he may have tried to.
The sister did not tell police until 2010 when she was giving a statement on another matter.
No specific date was provided for the alleged offence, only that it occurred sometime between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, 2001. The couple separated in 2008 and divorced in 2010.
Tindale said the ex-wife's evidence was based to conversations she had with the man and her sister over 10 years ago and it was clear she was not sure of the actual words spoken.
"It is not clear to me that what the accused told her was an admission or a denial," Tindale said. "It is ambiguous at best what the accused actually said to her in relation to this incident. It is not clear whether the accused admitted to her that he had sex with the complainant or tried to have sex with the complainant, he only said that he was present and upset and thought the complainant was his wife."
As for the sister, Tindale said she was testifying about an incident that allegedly occurred about 11 years ago and at a time she was so drunk she vomited and immediately went to sleep. He said evidence was lacking in terms of what time the incident occurred and how long it lasted, what they were wearing and what he said during the incident and afterwards.