The sexual assault trial of a Nova Scotia doctor came to an abrupt end Thursday when the Crown said new evidence it had received meant there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
A woman accused Dr. Oluwarotimi (Tim) Fashoranti of groping her breast during a physical exam at his walk-in clinic in Springhill, N.S., in July of last year. He faced a single count of sexual assault before the charge was dropped Thursday in Nova Scotia provincial court.
"I find you not guilty and you're acquitted of the offence. You're free to go," said Judge Rosalind Michie.
The complainant was the first witness to testify at his trial. Fashoranti, 64, was the last.
In his testimony, Fashoranti emphatically denied the allegations against him
Complainant's motives questioned
His lawyer, Stan MacDonald, questioned the complainant's motives.
"In my view, the new evidence really casts further doubt on the credibility of the complainant's allegation, and lent considerable credence to the defence position that the allegation was motivated by money," MacDonald told Michie.
When contacted outside of court, MacDonald refused to elaborate on his comment.
Last-minute development 'regrettable'
A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service said the information came to light at the 11th hour.
"It's always regrettable when this happens late in the process, but our duty is clear," said Chris Hansen. She would not characterize the nature of the evidence that prompted the Crown to change its position.
Because of a prior complaint against him, Fashoranti was under restrictions imposed by the Nova Scotia College of Physicians and Surgeons, the body that regulates doctors in the province, at the time of the alleged assault.
He was not to conduct examinations of female patients without a chaperone present. Court heard that on the day of the alleged assault, the clinic employee who was supposed to be present could not enter the examination room because the door was locked.
This acquittal does not end Fashoranti's legal problems. Three other women have accused him of sexual assault. Those charges return to court later this month.
Fashoranti's licence to practise has been suspended while he deals with the allegations.
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