Nfld. & Labrador

'Idiot who made a bad decision' but not criminal, says lawyer for cop charged with sexual assault

Lawyers in the trial of a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer accused of sexual assault began their summations on Wednesday.

Lawyers agree consent is the key to finding whether Carl Douglas Snelgrove guilty or not

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

The lawyer representing a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer accused of sexual assault while on duty says the Crown has to prove there was force and that the complainant did not consent to sex.

Randy Piercey, who is defending Const. Carl Douglas (Doug) Snelgrove, began wrapping up his case in Supreme Court in St. John's Wednesday.

In his closing arguments to the jury, Piercey said while Snelgrove may have been a "stupid idiot who made a bad decision" that doesn't mean it was a criminal decision.

The complainant, who was 21 at the time of the alleged assault in December 2014, has testified she was drinking before and after going downtown, and can't remember consenting to sex.

She told the court that Snelgrove offered her a ride home and helped her get into her basement apartment through a window because she couldn't find her keys.

Snelgrove, 38, testified that he was parked in front of the Supreme courthouse after dropping off a prisoner at the lockup and the woman asked for a ride.

He said she invited him in to her home and initiated sex. Snelgrove said the woman was aware of everything that happened.

A toxicology expert who testified for the defence suggested the woman had an alcohol-induced blackout, which is why she can't remember certain details of the night in question.

Piercey told the jurors that the complainant was sober enough to give Snelgrove directions to her apartment, and there was no evidence she passed out.

He said they cannot convict unless Snelgrove, a 10-year veteran of the RNC, knew she was too drunk to consent and had sex with her anyway.

Having sex instead of protecting public: Crown

Crown prosecutor, Lloyd Strickland, told the jurors the woman could not have consented if she was drunk, unconscious or asleep.

He reminded them the complainant said she came to while Snelgrove was having sex with her.

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Strickland says the woman could not give consent if she was unconscious or asleep. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

Strickland said if the woman was too drunk to give consent, then the jury has to convict, and called the constable's claim that she initiated sex "self serving."

He also talked about Snelgrove's credibility, saying the officer did not follow protocol and tell the RNC communications centre that he was driving the woman home, reporting the arrival and departure times and mileage.

Strickland said the officer was having sex when he should have been protecting the public.

As for the complainant's intention to sue, he said that is her right, and not relevant to the criminal case.

Judge Valerie Marshall will give her instructions to the jury Thursday morning.

With files from Glenn Payette