Final arguments wrap in trial of Regina man accused of sexually assaulting 12-year-old

·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 disturbing details

Christopher Duke is set to find out a judge's decision in his sexual assault trial next month — almost three years to the day since the assault he's accused of committing.

Duke is facing one count of sexual assault on a person under the age of 16.

On Monday, defence attorney Chris MacLeod and Crown prosecutor Leona Andrews presented their final arguments to Justice Graeme Mitchell at Court of Queen's Bench in Regina.

Although Duke faces just one count of sexual assault, the court heard testimony from the complainant that she had been repeatedly assaulted by Duke over the years they had known one another.

Any information that might identify the complainant is protected by a publication ban.

The alleged assault

Duke 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, when the complainant's brother allegedly walked in on Duke assaulting his sister.

The brother testified that he was confused by what was happening, but that later that night he spoke with his sister over Snapchat and was told assaults had allegedly been happening for years.

Police were called the next morning.

A sexual assault kit performed on the alleged victim found male DNA on a swab of the complainant's vagina.

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.

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

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

Closing arguments

On Monday, MacLeod highlighted that there was no proof that the shorts in question were worn by Duke or that they were his.

The Crown responded by pointing out that Duke had testified to wearing shorts the night of the assault and was not wearing shorts when he was arrested.

The defence attempted to draw the judge's attention to inconsistencies in the testimony of Crown witnesses.

MacLeod implied that there was some kind of collaborative decision between the complainant and her sibling to ensnare his client in legal trouble. He didn't offer an explanation or motive for that being the case. The Crown stressed to Mitchell that no witnesses had been questioned on anything resembling that theory and that it should be disregarded.

MacLeod also said that the assault his client is alleged to have committed, which cannot be recounted in detail here due to the possibility of violating the publication ban, defied any reason.

"It's an absurd situation that someone would commit a violent act in those circumstances," MacLeod said.

Andrews said any inconsistencies in testimony from the complainant are the result of a youth testifying to traumatic experiences. Andrews stressed that the evidence should be viewed through that lens and that the judge should keep in mind that testimony from other witnesses helped corroborate the events.

Mitchell's decision is set to be released on July 28, 2022, at 10 a.m. CST.

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