Closing arguments heard in sex assault trial

Closing arguments heard in sex assault trial

Crown and defence lawyers argued two vastly difference scenarios in the closing arguments of a man on trial for sexual assault in Cranbrook Supreme Court.

Matthew Buxton is charged with assault, sexual assault and uttering threats in connection with an alleged incident that occurred in the early hours of October 8, 2016.

Buxton and a group of people were drinking at the King Eddy bar when the party shifted to his house after closing. There, the crown alleges the complainant — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — was sexually assaulted, while Buxton’s lawyer argues that the sex was consensual.

Buxton’s roommate called police early in the morning around 5 a.m., which arrived and arrested Buxton, initially for assault and uttering threats. In a later interview with police, the complainant told an officer she was sexually assaulted.

Crown called evidence that included members of the group who were drinking with Buxton and the complainant, responding RCMP officers, the complainant, King Eddy bartending staff, and Buxton’s videotaped statement to police.

Crown says Buxton is not a credible or reliable witness and that his statement to police was riddled with inconsistencies.

Crown alleges Buxton initially lied about putting a pillow over the face of the complainant, before later admitting he did it to muffle her screams after the incident. Crown also added that the complainant testified her memory stopped at 10:30 p.m. and cast doubt on her ability to give consent to consensual sex.

Crown also pointed to evidence from Buxton’s roommate, who testified that he heard yelling and the phrase ‘I want to leave’ coming from Buxton’s bedroom, and rhetorically asked the jury why that would be the case if the intercourse was consensual.

Defence counsel argued a difference interpretation of the evidence, noting that the complainant remained at the bar after her long-time partner of nine years left at 9:30 p.m. because she ‘wanted to stay and have a good time’.

Defence counsel alleges that the complainant consented to sexual intercourse with Buxton but later changed her story to sexual assault once she returned to her partner because she was ashamed and embarrassed.

Defence said Buxton’s roommate was an unreliable witness because he was certain that police arrived around 12:38 a.m. when in fact, it was a few hours later that RCMP came to the house. Another member of the group testified that he smoked a cigarette with the roommate, however, the roommate denied that event from ever happening.

Other members of the party left around 3:30 a.m., leaving an approximately one-hour window that is unaccounted for in the timeline of the incident.

The trial is presided by Justice Catherine Murray along with a jury of eight men and four women. The judge is expected to deliver final instructions to the jury on Tuesday morning before deliberations begin.

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