Nova Scotia

Former SMU groundskeeper accused of 3 sex assaults testifies in own defence

Matthew Percy told his Halifax provincial court trial the complainant agreed to have sex and allow him to film it on his phone. She is one of three women to accuse him of sexual assault.

Matthew Percy says sex with complainant was consensual and she agreed he could take video

Matthew Percy testified Wednesday in his own defence in Halifax provincial court. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

A 35-year-old Halifax man accused of three sexual assaults testified in his own defence Wednesday at his trial involving the first of three women, telling the court the complainant wanted to have sex with him.

Matthew Percy is on trial in Halifax provincial court on charges of sexual assault, voyeurism and overcoming resistance by choking related to allegations from Sept. 3, 2017.

A 22-year-old woman has previously testified that Percy forced her to have sex at his apartment following drinks downtown and that she had no idea he was filming it on his phone.

Percy testified he knew the complainant from Saint Mary's University, where he was a groundskeeper at the time. She was student, he said, and he would often see her at the gym or around campus.

He said he encountered the woman on the afternoon of Sept. 2. on the SMU campus. The two made plans to go downtown to have drinks. Percy said he visited a friend later that afternoon, and the two shared a bottle of wine before heading downtown around 10 p.m. that night.

He said the complainant arrived at the bar Durty's Nelly's with a female friend before midnight. Percy said the four of them drank beer before heading to The Dome/Cheers at 1:50 a.m.

Percy says woman agreed to sex

Defence lawyer Brian Warcop asked Percy how much they'd been drinking. Percy said after three glasses of wine and two pints of beer at Durty Nelly's he was "just starting to feel a buzz" at 1.50 a.m. 

Percy said he and the complainant got in a taxi between 3:10 a.m. and 3:15 a.m. and headed to his apartment. He said the woman told him in the taxi she didn't want any wine when they got home but would have a glass of water.

"I asked her if I could give her a foot massage," Percy told the court. "She said, 'That would be great.'"

Eventually Percy said the two started kissing and moved into the bedroom where they performed oral sex on each other.

"She's holding me close," he said. "I'm holding her close. We're kissing passionately."

Percy said she handed him a condom. He testified he asked her, "Are you sure you want to have sex? And she said, 'Yes.'" He testified he asked if he could record it on his phone and she agreed, as long as he didn't post anything online.

Woman was cold to him

After they'd had sex Percy said he called her a taxi and gave her $10 to cover the fare. He said he texted her the next morning around 11:30 a.m. and asked her how she slept.

He said she told him she only slept for two hours because her apartment was too hot. The two weren't in touch until the following Tuesday. He said he saw her on campus and spoke to her, but that he found her to be cold.

When he was asked why, Percy testified he believed it was because she'd likely seen him walking around campus with another woman.

Warcop asked Percy what he planned to do with the recorded sex tape.

"Keep them for myself," Percy replied. "If she wanted to watch them, we could watch them together."


Under cross-examination from Crown attorney Rick Woodburn, Percy said he considered his encounter with the complainant a one-night stand.

Woodburn pressed Percy for details on exactly when certain events happened and whether Percy's testimony was from his memory or from a "story" he was trying to weave together. Percy said it was "the truth, not a story."

The cross-examination will continue Thursday morning.

Percy also faces charges related to two other women. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on the Saint Mary's campus on Sept. 15, 2017. He is also accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2014.

Read more stories at CBC Nova Scotia


Preston Mulligan has been a reporter in the Maritimes for more than 20 years. Along with his reporting gig, he also hosts CBC Radio's Sunday phone-in show, Maritime Connection.