The woman who says three Toronto police officers took turns sexually assaulting her in 2015 denied that she flirted, wore revealing clothing to attract attention, and wanted to have sex the night of the alleged assault — suggestions made by the defence during tense cross-examination on Thursday.
Leslie Nyznik, Sameer Kara and Joshua Cabero are each charged with one count of sexual assault. The three officers work at 51 Division, where the complainant was assigned as a parking enforcement officer at the time of the alleged assault.
Defence lawyer Harry Black, who is representing Nyznik, attempted to prove that the complainant was interested in the three officers by focusing, in part, on the outfit she wore the night of the alleged assault.
Black asked the woman about her choice of wearing a top described as "really low cut with open sleeves" to a party mostly attended by "all young men, all men who would be drinking."
"You did so because you wanted to draw the attention of men to you," Black suggested.
"Absolutely not," the woman replied.
The complainant had previously testified that she attended the police staff party at several downtown bars because it was good for team-building and networking.
"Did you wear a really low cut top to team-build or network," Black asked.
"What I was wearing that night had nothing to do with team-building or networking," the complainant said.
Black also suggested that in a conversation while at work in the days leading up to the party, the complainant told Nyznik and Kara she would be wearing a "really short skirt for easy access." The complainant denied having said that.
It wasn't the only suggestion of flirtatious behavior Black tried to plant on the complainant. Suggestions she firmly denied in her testimony.
"I'm going to suggest you went to that party with the hope, with the anticipation, that by the end of the night you would be in that rented hotel room having sex," Black said.
"Absolutely not," she testified.
Defence suggests complainant was flirtatious
The court watched surveillance video from CC Whiskey Bar from the night of the alleged assault. Although it's impossible to make out exactly what is happening due to the quality of video, the complainant said the video is her speaking with Nyznik and other officers for about 10 minutes.
"I'm going to suggest to you that for those several minutes you were making every effort to get Mr. Nyznik's attention. You were flirting with him," Black said
"I disagree," she replied.
Earlier in his questioning, Black referenced a police interview, in which the complainant's colleague told the investigator the complainant had said Nyznik was "cute."
"In fact, you went further. You thought he was very attractive," Black told the woman.
"I did not say that," she replied. "I said he was cute, until he opens his mouth."
Returning to the subject of the clothing, Black showed the court another surveillance video, which shows the woman accompanying Kara outside of CC Whiskey Bar without her coat.
With January weather of –12 C, Black suggested that the complainant wanted to be with Kara so badly that she endured the cold with no coat.
"My coat was checked," she matter-of-factly replied. "Cold doesn't bother me."
The defence then turned to video evidence and the complainant's state of mind.
She'd previously told the court that when she left the Brass Rail strip club with Nyznik and Cabero she had a "sudden headache", "impaired vision" and felt like she was in a "Star Trek warp."
Black attempted to contrast this with how she appears at the hotel, suggesting the video showed her "smiling" and "talking" there.
"I'm suggesting that night in that hotel room there was absolutely nothing wrong with you," Black said.
The complainant responded that she has "no memory" of the hotel lobby.
For the first time, the possibility of the complainant being drugged was discussed at the trial.
The officers are charged only with sexual assault and there is nothing in the allegations about drugs.
In a line of questioning focussed on the complainant's state of mind in the taxi and the hotel, Black and the complainant agreed that she had consumed seven drinks throughout the evening.
Referring to the headache and loss of vision in the taxi, Black asked, "To what do you attribute these maladies?"
"I attributed it to being drugged," the complainant responded.
She told the court she did not know who drugged her but believes it happened either at Pravda vodka bar or the Brass Rail strip club.
A toxicologist is expected to be called as a witness later in the trial.
In the hotel room
The day ended with Black providing a graphic account of what happened in the hotel room based on what his client remembers.
Black described sex in the hotel room involving the three officers and the complainant. But, unlike in her testimony Wednesday, the woman not only consents to the sex but instigates it.
The sex began, Black told the complainant, when "you reached for the crotch area of Mr Nyznik's pants and undid his zipper."
The woman denied this.
At one point in the hotel room, Black said Kara asked the woman, "Are you ok? Is everything good?"
Black said the woman responded "Yes. Why would I not be?"
"I'm having trouble following because this is not what happened," the complainant responded.
Black then attempted to contradict a key detail in the woman's testimony from Wednesday when she said she remembers one officer asking the others to stop.
"No one ever said to you in that room, 'Stop it, she's out,'" Black said.
"Sameer Kara did," the woman replied.
The trial continues Friday.