Metro Vancouver police officers facing new legal battle in alleged sex assault in Cuba
Prosecution appealing acquittal of VPD Const. Mark Simms and Port Moody Const. Jordan Long, held since March
Two Metro Vancouver police officers who were acquitted on sexual assault charges in Cuba last week won't be coming home just yet, with news that the prosecution has filed an appeal.
Const. Mark Simms, 29, of the Vancouver Police Department, and Const. Jordan Long, 31, of the Port Moody Police Department, have been held in Cuba since mid-March. They were arrested while on vacation in Varadero after a 17-year-old tourist from Ontario reported she had been sexually assaulted.
"Since we had the good news of their acquittal and exoneration, we have learned that the prosecution is appealing the unanimous decision of the judges," reads a statement put out by the Simms and Long families.
"We have been advised that appealing a verdict is common procedure in Cuba. Nevertheless, as we enter month nine, this news comes as a painful realization that the nightmare is not yet over."
The families reported that Simms and Long had been acquitted by the unanimous verdict of five female judges on Nov. 15.
Efforts were underway to bring the two men home to Canada as quickly as possible. But with news of the appeal, the families now say the "timeline is unclear."
"We are holding on to the hope that they will be home to celebrate Christmas with their loving families and friends," reads the statement.
Few details of the case have been released. In April, Mike Clay, then mayor of Port Moody, said Simms was accused of the sexual assault, while Long was being held as a material witness.
Both men and their families have maintained the pair are innocent.
Read the families' statement in full: