UPDATE: 2:10 p.m.
A Southeast District RCMP constable has been found not guilty of sexual assault after the Crown suggested his acquittal on Thursday morning.
On what was supposed to be the third day of a four-day trial, Mountie Chad Vance has been acquitted of the sexual assault charge he was facing.
Judge Roy Dickey returned at 2 p.m., rendering his verdict in the short, three-minute appearance.
Dickey said he observed the same weaknesses in the alleged victim’s testimony that both the Crown and defence did. Though not agreeing with all of the defence’s submissions, Dickey agreed the Crown’s evidence was not substantial enough for a conviction.
Vance is scheduled for an RCMP conduct hearing in April, facing potential removal from the force. He’s facing seven allegations he violated section 7.1 of the RCMP’s code of conduct which mandates “members behave in a manner that is not likely to discredit the force.” It is unclear how his acquittal will affect the conduct hearing. In the meantime, he remains on an unpaid suspension.
After two days of trial, the Crown is inviting an acquittal of a Southeast District RCMP constable who is charged with sexual assault, the court heard on Thursday morning (Feb. 18).
Allegations against Chad Vance, 50, were outlined in court by the alleged victim earlier this week. She claimed Vance anally raped her on the back porch of his Kelowna home while she was suntanning in July 2015.
Through cross-examination on Tuesday, defence lawyer Trevor Martin pushed her on the timeline, revealing several inconsistencies regarding specific dates, which the woman said she couldn’t recall due to the alleged offence having occurred six years ago.
READ MORE: Kelowna Mountie denies rape allegation
Crown counsel Timothy McKelvey said that the alleged victim’s cross-examination exposed several weaknesses regarding her credibility and reliability. As such, he said the likelihood of conviction is slim and the charge standard is no longer met. McKelvey added Vance’s evidence remained consistent throughout questioning.
Given the burden of proof not being met, both lawyers are now suggesting Vance be acquitted.
On Wednesday, Vance flatly denied he raped the woman.
Still having to consider all evidence presented in the trial despite the recommendation of both parties, the judge is expected to return with his verdict at 2 p.m.
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