Christopher Duke testifies in own defence as sexual assault trial comes to an end

·3 min read
Christopher Duke is shown walking out of provincial court in Regina after his bail hearing on Aug. 9, 2019. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)
Christopher Duke is shown walking out of provincial court in Regina after his bail hearing on Aug. 9, 2019. (Kirk Fraser/CBC - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details..

Christopher Duke stepped into the witness box and testified in his own defence during the sixth and final day of his sexual assault trial.

Duke, 51, is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl at a home on the east side of Regina on the evening of July 31, 2019.

He testified on Monday in Regina Court of Queen's bench that he didn't do it.

Although Duke is only facing one charge of sexual assault of a person under the age of 16, the complainant testified last week that Duke had assaulted her multiple times over the years that they had known each other.

Duke was asked on Monday about each of the alleged assaults and denied all of them.

The trial is being held under a publication ban that prohibits the sharing of any information that could identify the complainant.

Duke was arrested the morning after the alleged assault.

Officers were notified by a neighbour, who testified last week that he was was informed about the alleged assault by the complainant's brother.

The court heard last week that forensic experts with the Regina Police Service and the RCMP were unable to exclude Duke from being the person responsible for the male DNA collected during a sexual assault kit conducted on his alleged victim.

The DNA was taken from a swab of the complainant's vagina.

Experts also testified that other tests detected the complainant's DNA inside a pair of board shorts seized by police.

The Crown has put forward a theory that the board shorts were what Duke was wearing at the time of the alleged assault.

Many of the specifics of the testimony in the trial, including information on the timeline of the alleged assault — a key part of the Crown's case — cannot be published at the risk of violating the publication ban.

Defence calls forensic expert

Lisa Mokleby, a forensic and DNA consultant, also testified on Monday as part of Duke's defence.

As a consultant she does not do her own tests but reviews the lab results and then gives her expert opinion.

In this case, she attempted to put doubt in the findings of RCMP forensic experts, who testified that the male DNA collected during a sexual assault kit could not rule out Duke.

She highlighted that the male DNA profile could be found in 1 in 40 white males, odds that she said are not enough to pinpoint one man.

The Crown challenged her, noting that only one person was accused of sexual assault and only one person on trial could not be discounted from providing the DNA.

Crown rests case

The Crown wrapped up its case on Monday with the cross examination of Crown expert Karolina Palka, a technological crime technician.

Palka prepared a report on the contents of Duke's phone, which were seized by police when he was arrested.

Under cross examination Palka said she can assure that the contents and details in the phone are accurate as a result of a unique mathematic formula in the data.

However, she testified that she could not verify the time of a specific message or when searches occurred as the phone was never unlocked by Duke and police couldn't gain access to it.

With both the Crown and defence ending their respective cases on Monday, the trial will now break for more than four months.

Due to scheduling conflicts, April 4 at 10 a.m. was the first date available for all parties.

That's when both sides will make closing submissions to the judge.

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