Jury finds Cranbrook man guilty of sex assault

Jury finds Cranbrook man guilty of sex assault

A jury has found a Cranbrook resident guilty of sex assault, assault and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm stemming from an incident that occurred at his trailer two years ago.

Matthew Buxton was found guilty on all three counts by a jury of eight men and four women after they deliberated for nearly eight hours at the Cranbrook Law Courts.

Buxton was drinking at a local bar with a group of people, which included the complainant, who returned to his trailer in the early hours of Oct. 8, 2016, along with a few friends at roughly 3 a.m.

The complainant testified her memory ended hours beforehand while still at the bar, but woke up to Buxton on top of her and that he covered her face with a pillow and threatened to kill her.

Buxton’s roommate called police, with two officers arriving in quick succession around 5 a.m. Buxton was arrested for assault and uttering threats, but the complainant didn’t disclose the sex assault until hours later in a separate police interview.

Buxton was taken to custody and later gave a statement to an RCMP officer.

Crown and defence described separate scenarios based on the interpretation of evidence presented during the trial.

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.

This is the second trial in the same criminal matter as the first proceedings ended in mistrial in October 2017 after the jury played back evidence without first having their request screened by lawyers and the judge.

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