Ottawa

3 women accused of kidnapping, sexual assault are liars: Crown

Three women charged with the vicious kidnapping and sexual assault of another woman are liars whose versions of events are "ludicrous," Crown prosecutors said Monday.

Warning: Some details in this story may be disturbing

Crown prosecutors say 'ringleader' Eunice Ilunga continually lied during her testimony about her role in the alleged sexual assault and kidnapping of another woman in July 2015. (Facebook)

Three women charged with the vicious kidnapping and sexual assault of another woman are liars whose versions of events are "ludicrous," Crown prosecutors said Monday in their closing submissions in an Ottawa courtroom.

Eunice Ilunga, 44, the accused ringleader, 39-year-old Sandrine Tomba-Kalema and 29-year-old Safi Mahinja all pleaded not guilty to a number of charges including breaking and entering, kidnapping, forcible confinement and sexual assault with a weapon.

Ilunga is also charged with assault with a weapon and taking intimate images without consent. 

The charges relate to an incident alleged to have happened on July 3, 2015. 

The alleged victim, whose identity is protected by the court, broke down earlier in the trial when she described how the women invaded her home, slashed her couch and punched her before taking her to one of their homes.

She sobbed recalling the humiliation she felt when the women removed her pubic hair with depilatory cream, an act they recorded and posted on Facebook.

Motive was revenge, Crown says

Assistant Crown attorneys Louise Tansey and James Cavanagh said the motive for the attack was revenge for the woman having had an intimate relationship with Ilunga's boyfriend.

In his closing submission, Ilunga's lawyer, Paolo Giancaterino, said his client now admits to assault and breaking and entering, but he denied the alleged victim was kidnapped because he said she agreed to leave her apartment with the women to go to Mahinja's house. 

Giancaterino said his client was concerned for the woman's welfare after she threatened to jump off her 16th-floor balcony.

That just proved how frightened the woman was, the Crown said.

"The notion that she is going along with them willingly is unbelievable," Tansey said. "Any suggestions that she consented to any of this is ludicrous and they aren't worthy of belief."

Tansey said the woman's non-consent is obvious in the videos of the incident.

"Look at the expression on her face in her so-called consent to removing her pubic hair," she said.

Ilunga has also admitted she lied to police in an interview that was not conducted under oath.

Roles of co-accused downplayed

The lawyers for the two other co-accused, Mahinja and Tomba-Kalema, downplayed their roles, saying the women were unaware of Ilunga's revenge plan and had very little involvement in carrying it out. 

Lawyer Celine Dostaler said Tomba-Kalema tried to protect the woman from Ilunga's anger, and bought her a fast food meal because she was worried she hadn't eaten.

Mahinja's lawyer said her client wasn't even in the room when the hair removal took place. 

But the Crown rejected those arguments.

"[All three women] aligned themselves for 11 hours in the ongoing attack," Tansey said.

The judge has tentatively said he will hand down his decision during the last week of September.  

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