The trial for a Yellowknife man, accused of having sex with young teenage girls at his apartment, got underway Monday.
Joshua ‘Taz’ Desjarlais, 27, is facing three counts of sexual assault for allegedly having sex with the girls over a two-week period in September of 2017.
Court heard that two of them were 14 years old at the time while the other was 15.
The charges he faces used to be known as statutory rape but it is no longer called that under the Canadian Criminal Code.
The girls’ names are all protected by a publication ban.
It is believed all three attended high school at the time.
One of the victims was on the witness stand Monday where she admitted the sex was “likely” consensual.
She said that she had sex with Desjarlais twice and at one point she told him to stop and he did.
She also testified that she told Desjarlais she was 18 years old.
The girl told the court that Desjarlais provided her with cocaine and alcohol on the days he’s alleged to have had sex with her.
She also testified that one of her friends, also an alleged victim, told her that Desjarlais engaged in group sex with her and one of the other alleged victims.
The girl testified from behind a screen that allows the accused to see her but prevents her from having to look at him as she testified.
It’s believed that Desjarlais’ defence will, at least in part, be that he believed the girls were all of legal age at the time and that the sex was consensual.
The age of consent in Canada to have sex with an adult is 16.
It has not been revealed so far in court exactly what led RCMP to lay the charges.
Desjarlais is currently in custody but has been allowed to leave the prisoners box to sit beside his lawyer for the proceedings.
The judge-alone trial is being presided over by NWT Supreme Court Judge Shannon Smallwood.