THUNDER BAY – A friend of the complainant in the sexual assault trial against two former Ottawa University hockey players described the woman as being ‘emotionally distraught’ the night of the alleged sexual assault, while also testifying to the court that her account of the incident was based in part on her interpretation of what happened.
The witness, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the complainant that is subject to a publication ban, was called to testify by council for the Crown in the trial against David Foucher, 28, and Guillaume Donovan, 27, who are accused of sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman in a Thunder Bay hotel room four years ago.
The witness testified she saw the alleged victim at a local bar with members of the Ottawa University hockey team on the night of Feb. 2, 2014. According to the witness, the alleged victim had been drinking, but she did not appear to be overly intoxicated.
At the end of the night, she tried to dissuade the alleged victim from leaving the bar with members of the team.
“I knew she was interested in the one player, [Taylor Collins], and having known that they didn’t know each other particularly well, I just wanted her not to partake in that situation and come back with me,” the witness said.
Later that night, the witness testified she received a phone call from the alleged victim, who was ‘crying hysterically.’ After driving to the hotel to pick her up, the witness further described her as ‘emotionally distraught.’
“She was not calm, not really herself,” she said. “She got in the car quite quick, slammed the door, just asking me to leave. She was frantic. I could tell she had been crying.”
Shortly after, the witness said she went back into the hotel to speak with the head coach of the Ottawa team to inform him about what happened. The alleged victim followed and asked her not to say anything.
“It appeared she just was embarrassed or just wanting to kind of escape the situation at the moment,” the witness testified.
The witness proceeded to speak with the head coach and then drove the alleged victim to the hospital, despite her saying she wanted to go home.
Later, the witness followed up with the head coach, as well as contacting officials at Ottawa University about the alleged assault, saying her moral compass prompted her to pursue the issue further.
The university then contacted police and an investigation was launched. After the alleged victim learned of the witness making a statement to police, she became angry.
“She was very angry,” the witness testified. “She was not happy. She was raising her voice, shouting, yelling. She was upset; probably felt betrayed I would estimate. Just really not wanting to listen to my reasoning or rationale.”
During cross-examination by Donovan’s attorney, Christian Deslauriers, the witness was asked about statements she made to police, which included her saying Collins was pushed off the alleged victim by other men, her arms were held down, how she screamed for them to stop, and that either four or six men took turns raping her.
The witness said this was her account to police when presented with the transcript of the recorded interview. She added her account was based on what she was told by the alleged victim at the time and how she remembered it.
“I don’t think we really discussed the events since in any detail,” she said. “I don’t know. I think my words may have been, not a lie, but my interpretation. I’m not sure if it was that physical as you say it sounds. That sounds really physical. It was more the sense that there was no consent.”
A former teammate of the two accused and who was staying in the adjoining room to Donovan, took the stand on Tuesday. Proceedings will continue on Wednesday.