Nova Scotia

Lyle Howe's sexual assault trial hears from alleged victim

The case of a Halifax lawyer accused of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance heard from the alleged victim today.

Halifax lawyer charged with sexual assault and administering a noxious substance

Lyle Howe pleaded not guilty as jury selection got underway Monday in a Nova Scotia courtroom. (CBC)

The case of a Halifax lawyer accused of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance heard from the alleged victim today.

Lyle Howe has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which were laid after an alleged incident on March 21, 2011, involving a 19-year-old woman.

The complainant, now 22 years old, was called to the stand by the Crown on Tuesday.

She said on the night of the alleged assault, Howe — whom she did not know — called her saying a friend wanted to go out with her. She said Howe told her his friend was shy and Howe would go along as a wingman.

The jury, composed of eight men and six women, heard that after the complainant got off the phone, she searched Howe's name on the internet and said she was relieved to find that he was a lawyer.

Woman's friends warn her to watch her drink

"I figured if he was a lawyer, he wouldn't be doing anything to jeopardize his career," the woman told the court.

A publication ban protects her identity.

The woman said she and her friends were skeptical and testified they had talked about watching their drinks for date rape drugs. The complainant said she asked Howe if she should bring a friend and he told her no and that it was "complicated."

After meeting Howe and his friend at Freeman's Little New York, a restaurant in Fairview, she ordered a vodka cranberry. Howe told the waiter to "make it a double," she said.

The complainant said after leaving Freeman's, the three made their way to Howe's law office on Mumford Road. She said she was asked to conceal vodka in her purse. She said one of the men brought orange juice but the two men assured her nothing had been done to the juice.

She said she can't remember parts of their time at Howe's office.

The complainant told the court that after about 45 minutes, the three of them went to her apartment where they started playing pool. The woman said she doesn't remember much of what happened next.

She testified she remembers Howe sitting on the couch and motioning for her to join him. She said he then tried to kiss her.

Woman awoke naked and disoriented, court hears

The complainant said after that memory, she only has a five-second memory of standing naked in her doorway and gesturing for people to leave.

She said she awoke the next morning naked, feeling dizzy and disorientated. She told the court she felt sore but does not remember having sex — but there were condoms all over the apartment.

At one point, the woman realized money was missing from her desk and her purse. She told the court she texted Howe to tell him money was missing. The complainant said Howe told her the other man took her money. He said he'd deal with it.

On her way to the hospital to have a rape exam, the woman said Howe called her and asked to meet. She was with her roommate at the time.

She said when they met, Howe asked her what she wanted. She said she wanted to remember. According to the woman, Howe asked her if she was wearing a wire.

The complainant testified Howe gave her some money and she continued to the hospital. She was examined by two nurses who gave her medication against sexually transmitted diseases.

The woman told the court she was afraid because Howe was a lawyer and he might "do something."

The complainant will continue her testimony Tuesday afternoon.