Mountie ordered to stand trial again for sexual assault, other charges

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Mountie ordered to stand trial again for sexual assault, other charges

​After five years and two lower court rulings, the Supreme Court of Canada has ordered a new trial for an RCMP officer from Newfoundland and Labrador on charges including sexual assaults.

Cpl. Steven Blackmore was was found not guilty on 10 charges in June 2014, and the province's court of appeal upheld the aquittal in 2016.

But the Crown appealed again, and in March the Supreme Court of Canada ordered that another trial be held.

Blackmore, 44, was accused of two counts of sexually assaulting a woman, five counts of physically assaulting her, one count of assaulting her with a knife, one count of assault against another younger woman, and one count of careless use of a firearm.

The incidents were alleged to have happened between March 2005 and May 2012, when the charges were laid. Blackmore was stationed at the RCMP detachment in Carmanville at the time and living in Gander.

In June 2014, a jury at the Supreme Court Trial Divsion in St. John's found Blackmore not guilty on all charges. Juries do not have to give their reasons.

The appeals

The crown appealed the acquittals to the Court of Appeal in St. John's, the highest court in this province.

In a 43 page decision, two of the three judges upheld the not guilty verdicts.

While they felt the trial judge had made some errors, including allowing the defence to extensively cross-examine the main complainant about a sex video, they said there were inconsistencies and untruths in the woman's statements to police and the court.

"In a case that turned in a very large measure on the complainant's testimony, this undermining of her credibility could properly give rise to a reasonable doubt," they wrote in the May 11, 2016 ruling.

Dissenting opinion

But the Chief Judge of the court, Derek Green, disagreed.

"Not only should certain evidence not have been admitted but other evidence was wrongly excluded," Green wrote, saying the trial judge had erred.

The defence had raised the notion that the complainant had lied about sexual assaults to get back at Blackmore because he had caused her to be fired from her job.

The trial judge wouldn't allow the Crown to call witnesses who might show that the complainant had told others she was assaulted by Blackmore before she was fired.

Green said certain text messages and aspects of the video should not have been allowed at trial, and that evidence that could have shown Blackmore had assaulted the woman before she was fired should have been allowed. 

He ruled the only remedy is a new trial on all the charges. The split decision allowed the Crown to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Blackmore will be arraigned in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in May. At that time, he could enter pleas and have dates set for a new trial. 

He has been suspended with pay since charges were laid five years ago.