Nfld. & Labrador

Crown appealing Doug Snelgrove verdict

The prosecution will appeal the not guilty verdict that a jury reached in the controversial Doug Snelgrove sexual assault trial.

Woman told the court she cannot remember giving consent

A Supreme Court jury found Doug Snelgrove not guilty of sexual assault.

The prosecution will appeal the not guilty verdict that a jury reached in the controversial Doug Snelgrove sexual assault trial. 

A protest erupted on the night of Feb. 24 after a Supreme Court jury determined that Snelgrove, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer with 10 years' experience on the force, was not guilty. 

Snelgrove, who is married, was in uniform and on duty when he drove an intoxicated young woman home to her apartment after she approached his patrol car in downtown St. John's in December 2014. 

The woman, who had been drinking with friends, testified that she cannot remember giving consent, and that she had passed out before becoming conscious while Snelgrove was having sex with her. She also said she would not have wanted to have had sex with Snelgrove. 

A crowd of about 100 people gathered outside RNC headquarters in St. John's to protest Const. Doug Snelgrove. (Jen White/CBC)

Snelgrove, however, testified that the woman was conscious throughout the incident, and that she initiated the sex. 

Justice erred on consent instructions: Crown

The Crown argues that Justice Valerie Marshall erred "by failing to properly instruct the jury on the meaning of consent," and also erred in her interpretation of the Criminal Code. 

The Crown feels that Marshall ought to have instructed the jury that there could be no consent in which "the accused induces the complainant to engage in the [sexual] activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority." 

Marshall had ruled that there was no inducement by Snelgrove, who had not been charged with breach of trust, and would not give that instruction to the jury. 

During the trial, there was no mention made of Snelgrove inducing her to have sex. 

No date has yet been set for a hearing of the Crown's appeal.

Snelgrove's future with force remains in doubt

Snelgrove remains suspended without pay. 

Apart from the Crown's decision to appeal the verdict, the case is also before the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Public Complaints Commission. 

As well, he awaits disciplinary action from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. 

In the days following the verdict, activists called on the RNC to fire him.