New Brunswick

Cormier trial moves to closing arguments stage

A Crown prosecutor says a Moncton, N.B., woman opted to be submissive to stay alive for almost a month and painted Romeo Cormier's testimony as "pure fiction" during the closing arguments of the kidnapping and sexual assault trial on Monday.

A Crown prosecutor said a Moncton, N.B., woman opted to be submissive to stay alive for almost a month and painted Romeo Cormier's testimony as "pure fiction" during the closing arguments of the kidnapping and sexual assault trial on Monday.

Marc Savoie said that Cormier, 63, took the woman at knifepoint on Feb. 26 and that she had to appear submissive and obedient to stay alive until she could escape.

The Crown and defence lawyers will be delivering final arguments in the case against Romeo Cormier on Monday. (CBC)
The Crown prosecutor asked the jury to put themselves in the woman's situation, being trapped with a man who told her he would not return to prison as a kidnapper or rapist, only as a murderer.

During Cormier's testimony, he described how the two planned to kill the woman's husband and she could have left at any time.

Savoie called Cormier's version of events "pure fiction, pure fabrication."

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, "went through hell when she was with him and she took the stand and faced him," he said.

Earlier on Monday, Cormier's defence lawyer said the woman had many opportunities to escape the basement apartment and consented to being with him for 26 days.

Cormier is facing six charges in connection with the disappearance of the Moncton woman in February 2010 from a downtown shopping mall.

Robert Rideout, one of Cormier's defence lawyers, told the court on Monday that Cormier presented an alternative explanation of events.

The lawyer said the dispute amounts to a case of "he said, she said" and the woman had plenty of opportunities to escape, or use a knife, hammer or scissors in his room if she really wanted to escape.

Rideout also said the woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, consented to everything all the way through. The defence lawyer questioned the credibility and reliability of the woman's testimony. He told the jury the Crown didn't prove its case.

While Rideout made his closing argument, Cormier read a book.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Zoël Dionne will give instructions to the jury about the law that must be applied to the case on Tuesday.

'You're with the devil now'

The jury has heard two very different versions of what happened on Feb. 26 and for the following 26 days in a Moncton rooming house.

The woman told the court how she was held against her will for almost a month, repeatedly sexually assaulted, threatened and on three occasions bound and gagged.

The woman at the centre of the kidnapping trial said she was held against her will and sexually assaulted for 26 days in 2010. (Mitch McQuinn)
The jury heard the woman describe how Cormier told her, "You're with the devil now. "

She also recalled how Cormier told her: "You're mine now till the end. You're my woman now. You know what couples do. I expect you to take care of me."

The woman said the sexual assaults began shortly after that statement. She said her alleged captor showed her two prison markings identifying him as Romeo Cormier.

The woman said she broke free March 24 when Cormier left the rooming house to go to the food bank. The Purolator driver who picked her up testified she was wearing only a T-shirt, panties and socks.

Relationship was consensual: Cormier

Cormier spent more than two days in the witness box, offering an alternative explanation to what happened with the woman.

He told the court he has known his accuser since 1993, when they met in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cormier claimed his relationship with the woman was consensual. He also said she was with him willingly because they were plotting to kill her husband.

He also testified that if she really wanted to escape, he had a .22-calibre gun, scissors and a knife collection. He described one of his knives as a mini-sword.

Cormier told the court how he showed the woman how to use a gun, although no gun was ever found as evidence and the woman said she never saw one in the apartment.

Charges against him are kidnapping, unlawful confinement, sexual assault, theft of money using violence, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

The Department of Justice initially sent out about 1,500 notices to potential jurors. The first stages of the jury selection were held at the Moncton Coliseum because of the large number of people who were called for jury duty.