PEI

Crown appeals not guilty verdict on sexual exploitation charges in second Roger Jabbour trial

The Crown has appealed the non guilty verdict in the case of former high school band teacher Roger Jabbour on charges of sexual exploitation involving a former student.

Appeal will ask the court to set aside decision, enter convictions, or order a new trial

Roger Jabbour was acquitted of two charges of sexual exploitation involving a student of his from the 1990s. (John Robertson/CBC)

The Crown has appealed the not guilty verdict of former high school band teacher Roger Jabbour on charges of sexual exploitation involving a former student.

Jabbour faced two charges of sexual exploitation involving a student at Colonel Gray High School from the 1990s. The woman's name is under a publication ban.   

In her ruling earlier this month, Chief Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr said she had some reasonable doubt about the reliability of the woman's testimony.

The notice of appeal, filed by Crown attorney Valerie Moore last week, will ask the court to set aside Judge Orr's decision and enter convictions on both counts or order a new trial.

The document states the judge "erred in law by not applying the standard of a reasonable doubt to the evidence as a whole."

It also states the judge applied improper considerations, including "myths and stereotypes" when assessing the complainant's reliability.

In addition, the appeal says the judge erred in misapprehending the complainant's evidence and by assessing her reliability on the basis of evidence "which was found by the court to be insignificant."

Only option to acquit

In her ruling, Orr said she didn't find Jabbour to be a credible witness during the trial. She said he was "evasive", "argumentative", "hesitant" and some of his testimony was "illogical."

Orr said the complainant provided a clear and direct testimony throughout the trial. The woman testified that she met regularly with Jabbour in his office with the door locked, and that sexual touching took place. She said she confronted him when she finished Grade 12, and told him she never wanted to see him again.

But, Orr said it was the five letters presented by the defence that the woman wrote to Jabbour and his family after she graduated that cast a reasonable doubt on the reliability of her evidence and her only option was to acquit Jabbour.

This was Jabbour's second trial on sex-related charges this year. In September Jabbour was found guilty of three charges involving three students from 2012 to 2015. One guilty finding was of sexual interference, which involves sexual touching. The two other guilty findings were sexual exploitation.

Jabbour is scheduled to be sentenced on those convictions Dec. 18.

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