Sexual assault trial opens for Matthew Percy in Halifax

·3 min read
Matthew Percy is shown outside a Halifax provincial court courtroom on June 19, 2018. (Brian MacKay/CBC - image credit)
Matthew Percy is shown outside a Halifax provincial court courtroom on June 19, 2018. (Brian MacKay/CBC - image credit)

Warning: This story contains distressing details.

A trial opened Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for a man accused of raping a woman in her own home.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was the second witness to testify at the sexual assault trial of Matthew Albert Percy.

She said she'd known Percy for about 15 years and considered him a close friend before the alleged incident in her Halifax home in November 2013.

She said she and Percy were spending the evening of Nov. 29 talking, eating snacks and drinking red wine when she suggested they watch a movie. She told the court she put a movie in her DVD player, but before she could press play, Percy lunged at her and pinned her down on the couch.

'I wasn't really a person to him'

"He jumped on me with quite a bit of force," she said, noting that Percy was much larger and more powerful than she was.

She said she was struggling to breathe and when she asked him what he was doing, he gave her an open-handed slap across the face that split her lip.

She said he also bit her and grabbed her with enough force that he left bruises. She said he pulled down her pants, then pulled down his own and raped her. She said when he was done, he got up and left.

"To me, it felt like I wasn't really a person to him; he was just doing his own thing," she testified.

She said he sarcastically asked if he was going to get a goodbye hug.

The woman said she went to a drugstore and got a morning-after pill because she didn't want to get pregnant. She also said she went to a doctor because of continuing abdominal pain. She said the doctor urged her to go to police.

"Did I want to go to the police and report my good friend for doing this to me? No," she told the court.

The woman said she had no further contact with Percy until the following January, when lab results revealed she had a sexually transmitted infection. At that point, she said she texted Percy to tell him he'd given her an STI. She said he responded by apologizing and adding, "I hope you're not mad at me."

Physician testifies

The first witness to testify in the judge-only trial was Dr. Adrienne Watson, a family physician. She treated Percy when he came to her family practice in January 2014 to be tested for a sexually transmitted infection.

Watson said she tested Percy for trichomoniasis, a parasitic, sexually transmitted disease. She said he was also tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia, but those tests were negative.

It wasn't until May 2018 when the woman saw media reports that Percy, a former groundskeeper at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, had been charged with another sexual assault that she contacted police.

A total of four women have accused Percy of sexual assault; he has been convicted twice and acquitted once. This is his fourth trial.

In May of this year, he was sentenced to five years in prison for an aggravated sexual assault against a 19-year-old university student in 2014.

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