British Columbia

Man accused of assaulting sleeping women found not guilty

A Kelowna, B.C., jury has found Shea Gardecki not guilty of breaking into a townhouse and sexually assaulting two sleeping women.

'It feels like it was a waste and it feels like justice wasn't served,' accuser says

Shea Gardecki outside the Kelowna courthouse on January 18, 2018. (Brady Strachan/ CBC)

A Peachland, B.C., man accused of breaking into a home and sexually assaulting two women while they slept has been found not guilty.

Shea Gardecki faced two counts of sexual assault and one count of breaking and entering with intent to commit sexual assault.

Two women testified that in August 2016, Gardecki broke into a townhouse and touched them under the covers while they were napping together on a mattress in a living room.

Over the weekend, a Kelowna jury found him not guilty on all counts.

"It's been very hard on Mr. Gardecki. It's something that he has been having hanging over his head for a significant period of time and he just wants to get back to living a normal life," said Jordan Watt, Gardecki's defense lawyer.

Watt said the case shows the importance of allowing the justice system to function.

 "We have due process, we have fairness, we have these principles for a reason and Mr. Gardecki's case is just a perfect example of why we can never forget about them."

'Justice wasn't served,' says woman

One of the women who testified to being assaulted says she is "completely shocked" by the decision. She says the verdict has shaken her faith in the justice system.

"It's very frustrating. It feels like it was a waste and it feels like justice wasn't served," said the woman whose identity is protected under a publication ban.

"In this day and age, where they're encouraging women to come forward and to stand up when they've had things like this happen ... to just let him walk, it's very disappointing."

With files from CBC's Brady Strachan.