Saskatchewan

Regina man guilty of sexual assault on Plenty of Fish first date

A 50-year-old Regina man has been found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

Gioulian Nikdima, 50, will likely face deportation after serving time for sexual assault causing bodily harm

Gioulian Nikdima was convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm. (Gioulian Nikdima/Instagram)

Warning: This story contains content that readers may find disturbing. 

Gioulian Nikdima, 50, has been found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm after driving a woman outside the city on their first date in March 2016 and forcing anal sex.

In his verdict, Regina Court of Queen's Bench Justice Fred Kovach said he believed the woman actively participated in certain sexual activities but that she did "not ask for or invite or consent to the act of anal intercourse."

He also said that even if the woman had initially invited anal intercourse, that "she clearly and unequivocally withdrew her consent" with her screams of pain.

The distinction is a key point in a trial that has been fraught with emotional courtroom arguments over rape myth and consent.

The Supreme Court has stipulated that consent for one sexual act is not universal consent for all sexual acts.

Outside the courthouse, senior Crown prosecutor Randene Zielke said she thought the judge made a "well-reasoned decision."

"I am pleased with the verdict. I think it is the correct one, based on all of the evidence," Zielke said.

Kovach said he considered the woman to be credible and reliable. He also detailed corroborating medical evidence, including physical injuries documented during a five-hour sexual assault exam.

Senior Crown prosecutor Randene Zielke says she is pleased with the guilty verdict delivered by Justice Fred Kovach. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

Charming coffee date takes violent turn

The 49-year-old victim, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, wasn't in the courtroom to hear the verdict.

Zielke said the prolonged court process had been "a long and difficult road" for the woman.

There were numerous trial delays — including last-minute legal wrangling over whether to toss the case over missing information on the indictment — and intense cross-examinations.

"It's frustrating. It is difficult for the victim," Zielke said. "[Sexual assault victims] are asked about what they did, and what they didn't do, what they should have done."

The woman connected with Nikdima on the internet dating site Plenty of Fish and then met in person for a first date in March 2016. 

The woman was looking for a life partner, but he said he was more interested in casual dating. The only time sex came up in conversation, she said, was when he told her, "'Don't worry, it's not about sex. I'm not looking for sex.'"

The woman found Nikdima so charming and sweet that the coffee date turned into a lunch date at a restaurant that they travelled to in the same vehicle.

After lunch, when it was time for Nikdima to drive her back to her car, he drove south on Lewvan Drive out of the city. She thought he was lost. Then, she said, he told her, "'We'll go up here and go for a bit of a walk. It's a nice day.'"

Consent is presence of 'yes', not absence of 'no'

The woman testified that Nikdima yanked off her pants and forcibly penetrated her vaginally, pushed her face down to perform oral sex, then penetrated her anally. 

The woman testified that she feared for her safety.

"I felt frozen," she told the court.

Defence lawyer Barry Nychuk asked the woman about how many times she said no to the accused and why she didn't fight.

"You let him do it. That's you consenting," Nychuk said.

The Crown reminded the court that "consent is not the absence of 'no.' It is the presence of 'yes.'"

The highest court has ruled that a lack of resistance does not imply consent and that consent that is given under duress or based on fear does not qualify as true consent. In this case, the alleged victim said she was terrified.

Nikdima faces deportation after being convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm. (Gioulian Nikdima/Instagram)

In the verdict, Justice Fred Kovach specified that he was only convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Nikdima committed sexual assault causing bodily harm at the point that Nikdima penetrated the woman anally without communicated consent and then disregarded her screams of pain.

A sexual assault nurse examiner, Stephanie Carlson, told the court that she has conducted more than 600 rape exams and only once before has she seen an external anal injury as large as the one found on this woman.

Nikdima was born in Albania and spent most of his adult years in Greece before immigrating to Canada in 2013. The conviction on this serious criminal charge will likely lead to his deportation. 

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for early December.

About the Author

Bonnie Allen

Senior Reporter

Bonnie Allen is a senior reporter for CBC News based in Saskatchewan. Before returning to Canada in 2013, Allen spent four years reporting from across Africa, including Libya, South Sudan, Liberia and Sierra Leone. She holds a Master's in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford. @bonnieallenCBC