Nova Scotia

James Duncan Keats, former paramedic, guilty of sexual assault

Former paramedic James Duncan Keats has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 71-year-old Annapolis Valley woman in her home two years ago.

Keats to be sentenced Aug. 18; judge dismisses charges related to 2nd sexual assault allegation

Paramedic James Duncan Keats was charged with sexual assault in May 2013. (CBC)

Former paramedic James Duncan Keats has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 71-year-old Annapolis Valley woman in her home two years ago.

Judge Claudine MacDonald read her verdict in Kentville court Wednesday morning. She also dismissed two charges related to an allegation he sexually assaulted the woman while she rode in an ambulance to hospital.

Keats will be sentenced on the one count of sexual assault on Aug. 18. The court has ordered a pre-sentence report.

The CBC's Blair Rhodes was at court in Kentville today following the proceedings. 

Keats was a paramedic at the time of the offence. He was suspended from his job after the charges were laid and last year was fired as evidence of what happened began to emerge in court.

The victim's often-graphic testimony opened Keats's trial in September. She said Keats raped her in her bedroom after he and another paramedic answered a call to help her injured husband.

In her verdict, MacDonald said there were significant inconsistencies between the victim's statement to police and her testimony in court. The judge said she only accepted some of the victim's evidence due to errors, exaggerations and confusion of some details.

But the judge said she was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt there was sexual contact between Keats and the victim in the bedroom and the Crown had proved it was not consensual.

3 charges dismissed

The woman also testified she remembered a separate assault by Keats that happened earlier, while she and Keats were riding in the back of an ambulance on their way to hospital. MacDonald dismissed charges in that case.

In addition to two counts of sexual assault, Keats was also faced two charges of breach of trust. MacDonald dismissed the count related to the ambulance ride. She said the count related to the bedroom assault should also be dismissed because Keats worked for a private company and not the province.

In closing arguments last month, Keats's lawyer said the woman's version of what happened in her bedroom was contradicted by Keats's paramedic partner.

The lawyer said the woman described an "acrobatic" assault involving several different positions, which the lawyer said was not believable.

The Crown countered that Keats lawyer kept going over the same points of evidence, so it was understandable that her version would vary each time she had to tell it.