Nfld. & Labrador

Jury in RNC officer sex assault trial goes for walk on Water Street

The jury hearing evidence in a sexual assault complaint against an RNC officer left court Tuesday to walk to Water Street where the complainant says she was picked up.

Woman may have blacked out after drinking, expert testifies Tuesday

Jurors in the Carl Snelgrove trial, who can't be identified, gather on the parking lot of Supreme Court for a walkabout Tuesday. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The jury hearing evidence in a sexual assault complaint against an on-duty Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer left court Tuesday to walk to the area in downtown St. John's where the woman says she was picked up.

The 12 jurors walked west from the back entrance of the Supreme Court building on Water Street to McMurdo's Lane and then east to the lockup entrance to the courthouse, where Const. Carl Douglas Snelgrove has said he was parked on the night of the alleged assault.

The walkabout is a chance for the jury to view the area where the woman, who was 21 at the time of the alleged assault in December 2014, says Snelgrove offered her a ride home. 

She testified earlier that the officer helped her get into her basement apartment through a window because she couldn't find her keys.

Carl Douglas Snelgrove talks to his lawyer, Randy Piercey. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The next thing she remembers is not having any clothes on and Snelgrove having sex with her. She said she had been drinking and didn't think she consented to sex.

Snelgrove testified the woman asked for a ride, invited him in to her apartment, and initiated sex. He said she was aware of everything while it was happening.

Woman may have blacked out, says expert

A toxicologist from Nova Scotia, who testified by video link Tuesday, said the woman may have experienced a "blackout" after drinking alcohol.

Dr. Peter Mullen was called as a defence witness. While he did not speak with the complainant or with Snelgrove, he was given copies of their statements to police as well as statements made at a preliminary hearing.

Dr. Peter Mullen testified by video link from Nova Scotia. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

He said prior to a blackout, a person may appear normal, or "the life of the party," showing no signs of intoxication — but not remember details afterward, until they are questioned about what happened.

According to Mullen, women experience more blackouts than men.

His written opinion to the court is that "consistent with her inability to recollect certain events (including sexual activity), [the complainant] could have suffered an alcohol-induced blackout on Dec. 21, 2014."

With files from Glenn Payette