Edmonton

Woman testifies she blacked out, woke up naked next to Edmonton bar promoter

A woman says she thought she was going on a dinner date with former bar promoter Matthew McKnight but instead ended up at a string of bars, blacked out and woke up in his bed. But his defence lawyer suggests the sexual contact was consensual.

Warning: this story contains graphic content

Matthew McKnight's lawyer suggested the sexual contact between McKnight and the complainant was consensual. (Edmonton Police Service )

A woman says she thought she was going on a dinner date with former bar promoter Matthew McKnight but instead ended up at a string of bars, blacked out and woke up in his bed.

The woman, who can't be named because of a publication ban, says she believes she was drugged and sexually assaulted by McKnight in April 2012 when she was 19.

She is one of 13 women whose complaints led to sexual assault charges against McKnight, who took notes on a laptop Tuesday during her testimony in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench.

"My next memory was waking up in Matthew McKnight's bedroom completely naked," said the woman, adding that she felt tenderness around her vaginal area, which led her to believe they had had sex.

"I felt like I was [taken] advantage of and manipulated into a situation I had no control over."

The woman said she had met McKnight at a downtown bar in 2012 where they exchanged numbers and arranged to meet a week later.

She testified that she had no intention of having sex with McKnight and planned to go home because she had to work the next day.

After they met at McKnight's apartment she said they went to five bars including Diamonds Gentlemen's Club. She said they had a total of about seven drinks, including complimentary shots, but didn't eat.

She said the last memory she has of that night is being at The Ranch Roadhouse where her vision became blurred, she felt nauseous and confused, and had trouble walking and talking. She believes she was drugged.

"I've never experienced that intense of a blackout before," she said.

When she woke up at McKnight's the next morning, she said she rushed to get home, shower and make it to work in Spruce Grove.

She said she tried to forget about what happened until she saw two media releases in 2016 in which police encouraged other complainants to come forward.

Under cross-examination that lasted more than half the day, the woman acknowledged that it was her choice to drink, she continued to drink because she was having fun and none of the drinks were poured by McKnight.

Defence lawyer Dino Bottos suggested she and McKnight kissed, touched and danced before she voluntarily went to his apartment. 

"I don't have a recollection of leaving The Ranch. I don't know how many times I have to say that," the woman replied at one point.

She rejected Bottos's suggestion that they kissed on the bed, grinded against one another, took off their own clothes and then engaged in several forms of sexual activity.

"I'm going to suggest to you that you were showing your excitement, your arousal and the fact that you were into it and you were consenting," Bottos said. "Is that possible?"

"No," the woman replied.

Bottos said the woman engaged in consensual sex with McKnight and regretted it afterwards.

He pointed to testimony at the preliminary inquiry in 2016 when the woman had referred to herself as a "horrible person." He suggested she revised her story about the evening after seeing the allegations in the media releases from police.

"So you didn't have to feel like a horrible person anymore," Bottos said. "He was the horrible person."

When asked by Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga to clarify if she was feeling "horrible" about a consensual sexual experience she regretted, the woman responded: "Absolutely not."

"I was putting the blame on myself just thinking about the situation and how much there was to drink and how I was not in control of the night and the series of events that led up to it," she said.

Last week a woman told court she was sexually assaulted by McKnight at a Whyte Avenue bar but there were gaps in her memory because of the amount of alcohol she had consumed.

Under cross-examination, Bottos suggested the woman was aroused and a willing participant in the sexual interaction.

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