Student arrested for sexual assault won’t be charged

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A University of Victoria student who was arrested on five counts of sexual assault will not face criminal charges after Crown Counsel decided not to approve them on Thursday, April 7.

The Crown’s decision cited a lack of sufficient evidence and no substantial likelihood of conviction. The student was originally slated to appear in court Thursday, but no court appearance took place.

Four women, all UVic students, came forward to Saanich Police in February alleging that the student, whom they all knew well, had assaulted them early in the fall semester. Saanich Police recommended charging the student with five counts of sexual assault, and the university banned the student from campus.

But with the Crown unable to find sufficient evidence that could lead to a conviction, the case likely won’t continue.

UVSS Director of External Relations Kenya Rogers called the decision “outraging.”

“I think it goes to show the justice system is so broken when it comes to centring survivors,” said Rogers.

Rogers also spoke to the difficulty that many survivors have in feeling confident enough to report their crimes.

“We’re trying to make spaces for survivors [at UVic], but when survivors feel like, ‘what’s the point?’ then it makes things really difficult.”

The university would not comment on the Crown’s decision, and said the student’s ban from the UVic campus would need to be considered in light of the dropped charges.

Update April 8, 10:47 p.m.: We’ve clarified the wording on the university’s comment to reflect that the student’s ban from campus will remain in place for the time being. 

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  • Anonymoose

    If four people who know each other well all come to accuse another person “whom they all knew well ” of something then I might question it if they have no evidence. Do they have something against this person?

    Also, can we clarify what is and isn’t sexual assault? My butt was touched by somebody at a cluster party. Is that something that I need to call the police about? Technically that 1 in 4 (or 3/5 or 80% depending on your campaign) includes “unwanted sexual touching”. I did not give the girl consent to touch my butt.

  • Student

    With five women all coming forward about sexual assault charges, it is really disdainful that nothing could be done. Yet what can really be done while ensuring that the principle of innocent until proven guilty remains in place?

  • twominuteplank

    due process is always “outraging” when it doesn’t result in your favour.

  • Gerry Burnie

    Unless the UVSS director is an attorney with some jurisdiction in this matter, I will take the crown’s word for it. My position is prompted by the number of allegations that have proven to be false.

    The fundamental principle of innocent until proven guilty still applies in our society.

  • Jake

    It’s a difficult situation. On one hand, there’s a lack of sufficient evidence to punish the alleged perpetrator. On the other hand, this will discourage survivors of sexual assault to come forward if they don’t have “sufficient evidence.”

    I want to trust the system, but it’s important to remember that we don’t have a justice system: we have a legal system. There’s a big difference, and simply accepting the verdict makes me uneasy when there are four young women who say they have been assaulted.

  • FThis

    So Kenya, what you’re are saying is that we should be prosecuting people based on accusations and not on evidence?

    Get real.