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Teen accused of sexual assault acquitted ‘as Crown did not prove case’


A 16-year-old boy accused of nine crimes against a 14-year-old girl, including sexual assault and threatening to share naked photos and videos, has been acquitted of all charges.

The girl “described the relationship as starting off good, but [the accused] became ‘extremely controlling and aggressive and physical’,” Judge Garth Malakoe told NWT youth court on March 20.

Neither the boy nor the girl can be identified.

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The girl alleged she had been physically and sexually assaulted while in the relationship. She said her boyfriend harassed her, threatened to kill her, forced her to have sex with him, and “threatened to show others their sex tapes,” said Malakoe.

At the earlier trial, the accused acknowledged he had sexual relations with the girl and admitted he possessed photos and videos of her naked.

He maintained all sexual interaction was consensual and the photos and videos were taken with permission and given to him by the girl.

The pair met in 2017 at school and began a relationship that lasted until the fall of 2018. The accused testified he neither physically nor sexually bullied her, nor threatened to share the intimate images with others.

“I do not accept the testimony of [the accused] denying the offences,” said Malakoe. “However, the testimony of [the girl] on its own is not sufficiently credible or reliable for me to accept.”

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The Crown presented several witnesses it hoped would corroborate the girl’s accusations, but the judge ruled their testimony did not sufficiently do that.

“The Crown did not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that [the accused] committed the offences as alleged,” said Malakoe, acquitting the accused of all charges.

‘Shameful’ behaviour

“I’m going to say something else,” the judge added, talking directly to the accused.

“Since you are a young person, I feel obliged to say something that goes beyond saying ‘you’re acquitted.’

“This is not a case where I’m finding you without blame. The Crown simply did not prove the case against you with the evidence placed before the court. Your treatment of [the girl] is not something you should be proud of and your behaviour was shameful.

“You manipulated a 14-year-old. You used crazy voices, you acted crazy. You acted like you were going to harm yourself. You threatened to beat her. You forced her to make choices.”

Malakoe warned the teenager, now 18, of the consequences if he continued such behaviour.

“At the very least, it will result in toxic relationships,” said Malakoe. “I’m saying this in the hope you have learned something with this experience and that it will change you forever.

“You will be 19 in September, you will be an adult, and you will be expected to act like one. Understood?”

“Yes,” came the reply.

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