In closing arguments Stephen Hopkins says police bungled sex assault probe, framing him for alleged crime

·2 min read
Stephen Hopkins, who's on trial for sexual assault, turns to face a CBC camera after testifying in early June. Hopkins's decision to forego a lawyer has caused delays and drawn lectures from the justice overseeing his trial. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Stephen Hopkins, who's on trial for sexual assault, turns to face a CBC camera after testifying in early June. Hopkins's decision to forego a lawyer has caused delays and drawn lectures from the justice overseeing his trial. (Malone Mullin/CBC - image credit)
Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Stephen Hopkins continued to reject all evidence brought in his prolonged sexual assault trial, maintaining on Monday that police had bungled their investigation and framed him.

Hopkins's final submissions mark the last stage of a six-week ordeal defined by delays and interruptions from the accused, who chose to represent himself.

He listened without disruption on Monday, however, as prosecutor Jennifer Standen ticked off the list of testimony and forensic evidence against him — a chain of events beginning with testimony from the complainant, who was a 17-year-old girl at the time of his alleged crime.

She told the court Hopkins said good morning to her on Sept. 18, 2020, as he pushed a cart of recyclables down her street, then asked her for a glass of water. When she brought it out to him, she said he pushed his way inside her home, carried her upstairs and sexually assaulted her before fleeing.

Three neighbours testified they saw the complainant distraught and crying in her driveway after the alleged assault. One of those told the court he saw Hopkins leaving the home.

Hopkins was arrested a few minutes later, one street over.

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Standen also linked DNA found on the complainant to Hopkins, and argued Monday the complainant was "in no way attempting to embellish or overstate" what she said occurred that morning.

She upheld that Hopkins, a convicted sex offender, saw his opportunity and took advantage of the girl's kindness.

Hopkins has argued that the police officers who arrested him were prejudiced against him, and that he had nothing to do with the girl's assault.

"Mr Hopkins was not plucked out of the sky as a suspect," Standen said, calling the evidence against him "overwhelming."

Evidence of 'flimsy merit,' Hopkins says

Hopkins, meanwhile, attempted to devalue the strength of the police investigation, arguing they failed to fingerprint areas of the home and suggesting police had ample opportunity to tamper with the evidence.

"They took pictures of a bed and a mug," Hopkins said.

"They failed to fingerprint the entry of the home, the door, any surfaces of the interior. They failed to check for damage that would have been caused by struggle.... A man passing and waving hello in the street would have left the same evidence."

He also attempted to undermine witness testimony, calling a neighbour cognitively impaired and describing the complainant as having "poor attitude, communal irresponsibility, personal dysfunction and immaturity," and arguing she was emotionally unstable.

He previously testified he had no contact with her that morning, but had seen her yelling and waving her hands in the middle of the street as he walked past.

"I rest that all evidence is of flimsy merit and that the needs of society determine that I should be released," he said.

Justice Donald Burrage will hand down his decision on Friday. Hopkins is facing several charges, including break and enter, forcible confinement and sexual assault.

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