A Yellowknife man has been acquitted of sexual assault and threatening death charges.
Elvis Blackduck, 49, who had pleaded not guilty to both offences, appeared relieved as he shook his lawyer Peter Harte’s hand following the verdict which was read in court by Judge Garth Malakoe Friday afternoon.
Blackduck had been charged with sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment while she was passed out after a night of drinking last October.
He was also charged with threatening after the victim reported to RCMP that Blackduck had said he would kill her if she told anyone what had happened.
At his trial on Wednesday, the woman testified that she had been drinking at Blackduck’s apartment, went to sleep and awoke to find her pants and underwear down around her knees.
The woman testified that she had no memory of the attack but insisted she knew Blackduck had sexually assaulted her.
The woman was kept from having to look at Blackduck during her testimony by a screen positioned between the two.
The judge ruled that because of inconsistencies in her testimony and her inability to accurately remember a whole lot of what had happened that night and the next morning, he could not find Blackduck guilty of the sex assault.
The judge said that he believed something happened to the woman that night but he could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Blackduck was responsible for it.
Malakoe ruled that there was no more evidence pointing ty Blackduck than there was at another man who was in the apartment that night.
He said he could not convict Blackduck of the assault without any corroborating evidence, someone to back the woman’s story, of which there was none.
Blackduck’s DNA was not found after a sexual assault kit was carried out on the woman at Stanton Territorial Hospital hours after she said she was attacked.
It was never made clear in court whether there was any proof that she in fact had been sexually assaulted.
Mounties did not test her’s or his clothing for DNA.
They also did not locate any of the other people who were in the apartment that night.
Oddly enough, the other man who she said was in the residence was in the courtroom to watch the entire trial.
He said outside court that he did not believe the woman was sexually assaulted that night.
Mounties apparently couldn’t find another woman who was also in the apartment that night.
Harte said that seemed strange to him in that he had her phone number and the alleged victim knew the other woman well.
The victim and a female RCMP officer were the only two people who testified at trial.
Harte did not present any evidence at trial nor did Blackduck take stand in his own defence.
Court also heard that Blackduck and the alleged victim drank together again after he had been charged.
The judge found Blackduck not guilty of the threatening charge due in part to the victim’s inconsistent memory of when Blackduck was alleged to have made the threat.
Blackduck was initially released on bail after he was arrested and charged but was returned to custody after he breached his bail conditions last winter.
He was assisted throughout the trial by a Tlicho interpreter.
Blackduck was to return to the North Slave Correctional Complex to retrieve his belongings but was otherwise free to go.
The woman was not in the courtroom for the verdict.