A court in Gatineau, Que., today heard disturbing testimony during the first day of a trial for suspended senator Patrick Brazeau, on charges of assault and sexual assault.
The 40-year-old was charged after an incident on Feb. 7, 2013.
The complainant in the case, a woman who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, told the judge that Brazeau struck her, grabbed her by the throat, pushed her down a flight of stairs and smashed her head against a wall. She also alleges Brazeau pulled down her pants and touched her inappropriately during the alleged assault.
The woman earlier testified that Brazeau had spent the previous evening drinking martinis and watching the news on television.
That night, CTV News aired a story revealing Brazeau had used his father's address in a First Nations community to claim an aboriginal income tax exemption. The woman told the court Brazeau received a text message that night from an individual linked to both of them that angered Brazeau and made him become aggressive.
Testimony to continue Tuesday
The woman will continue testifying on Tuesday, and will then be cross-examined.
Earlier Monday, court was shown police photos of bruises the woman said she received during the alleged assault. There were also photos taken at the home in Gatineau where the alleged assault took place. Among other things, they show a broken stairway banister, marks on the walls of the home and torn clothing. A police witness told court the evidence suggested a violent encounter between two people.
When Brazeau was charged with assault and sexual assault, he was ousted from the Conservative Party's caucus.
He will be in an Ottawa court starting June 1 for an unrelated matter – the preliminary inquiry into charges of fraud related to his Senate expense claims.
The court has set aside 12 days that month to deal with the proceeding that allows a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Brazeau maintains he did nothing wrong and that he followed the rules.
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Brazeau was named to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.
Fellow senator Duffy to go on trial April 7
Today's trial kicks off several months of court proceedings for suspended and former senators.
Mike Duffy, who was named to the Senate by Harper at the same time as Brazeau, goes on trial April 7 on charges related to inappropriate expenses while serving as a senator.
That trial is scheduled to run through to May 12, and then continue for another 12 days in June. Duffy says his spending was above-board and that he did nothing wrong.
Mac Harb, who was named to the Senate by Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, is scheduled to have a trial Aug. 10-Sept. 4 on charges related to his Senate expenses. Harb also says he followed the rules and he did nothing wrong.
Brazeau's court case today is separate from an April 2014 incident where he was charged with assault, possession of cocaine, uttering threats and breaching bail conditions following an altercation involving a man and a woman at a home in Gatineau.