Nova Scotia

Former regional chief tells sexual assault trial complainant never visited

Former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations Morley Googoo testified Friday that he was never home alone and so could not have sexually assaulted a woman nine years ago.

Morley Googoo testified Friday that he was never home alone and could not have sexually assaulted the woman

Morley Googoo is shown making his way into a provincial courtroom at the start of his sexual assault trial taking place in Wagmatcook, N.S. (Erin Pottie/CBC)

A former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations testified that he could not have sexually assaulted a woman in his community nine years ago, as he was never home alone. 

Morley Googoo testified in his own defence Friday at the provincial court in Wagmatcook, N.S.

Googoo said he was on a trip to visit his ailing grandmother in February 2020 when the complainant sent along text messages about forgiveness. 

"I just said, Forgive me for what?'" Googoo testified. "I didn't know how to reply."

After he asked what the woman was talking about, Googoo was told he sexually assaulted her.

But he said that wasn't possible in 2013, because his busy schedule would not have allowed it.

Woman previously testified about visit to Googoo's home

Earlier in the trial, the court heard the woman had visited Googoo's former We'koma'q home in late March that year to discuss a potential community project.

After being given a soda, the woman testified that she began feeling dizzy and unwell. She later woke up at Googoo's home and drove herself home.

She said the next day, she felt extreme pain in her genitals but couldn't figure out why.

It wasn't until she started having flashbacks of her encounter with Googoo that certain details of the assault became clear. 

Googoo testifies about business trips

Googoo denied the woman's claims and testified the visit never happened. He also disputed several details of the woman's claims, from the colour of the sheets on his bed to whether he was sober at the time.

The 53-year-old served nine terms as chief of the We'koma'q First Nation and in 2011 began the first of three terms on the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

Googoo told the court that he was often assigned to AFN business trips in March 2013, and used flight, hotel and other travel documents as evidence, along with conference agendas and social media postings.

As part of the judge-alone trial, the court heard testimony from Googoo's son, ex-wife and a neighbour — who is also a relative of the family.

Verdict expected in June

In closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Tracey Sturmy said details from Googoo cannot prove his whereabouts at every hour during the month in question, and instead Googoo's documents suggest he's looking for an alibi.

"His evidence is based on his desire to fill out an alibi for the entire month of March," Sturmy said.

Defence lawyer Chris Conohan said he was satisfied the trial evidence shows Googoo could not have committed the offence.

Googoo is expected to return to court in early June for a verdict.