WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
The trial of a Regina man accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl began with him pleading not guilty.
Christopher Cameron Duke entered his plea to a single count of sexual assault on a person under 16 years of age at the Court of Queen's Bench in Regina on Monday. His plea was met by vocal complaints from some of those in attendance.
Duke is accused of assaulting the child at a home in the east part of Regina on July 31. He was arrested by police the day after the alleged assault.
The trial is being held under a publication ban which prohibits the publication of any information that could identify the complainant.
Monday's trial featured the testimony of a neighbour who lived in the same townhouse complex as the complainant and her mother.
The neighbour testified that he had limited interactions with the complainant, outside of his son occasionally playing with her.
The neighbour said that on Aug. 1, he had gone out on the rear porch of his unit to drink coffee and have a cigarette when he heard a commotion from a few units down.
It sounded like shouting of some kind, he said.
It was then that a boy, the younger brother of the alleged victim, left the unit located a few doors down, the witness said.
The boy got the neighbour's attention and got him to come over to the back entrance of his mother's unit. The boy then told the neighbour that Duke had raped his sister.
The neighbour told his wife to call 911, had the boy wait outside and then proceeded up the steps at the rear of the unit and looked inside through the doors that had been left open.
He saw the alleged victim curled up inside sobbing. Once he was able to get her attention, the neighbour got her to exit the building.
He then had both children wait with his wife. The neighbour testified that both children were visibly upset.
The neighbour said that before police arrived, he saw Duke going to the complex's shared parking lot and standing next to a truck.
They didn't interact, except for when Duke told the neighbour "I'm really sick," the neighbour testified.
Two Regina police officers who were part of the initial investigation also testified on Monday.
Cst. Kelly Shumay and Tim Hubert, a now-retired officer who was a sergeant at the time of the investigation, both testified that they responded to a home in east Regina on Aug. 1, 2019.
Shumay, who was one of the first officers to arrive on the scene, was flagged down by the neighbour. Shumay said he told one of the other officers to detain Duke as they investigated.
Hubert told the court that he arrived after the initial responders due to his supervisory role as patrol sergeant.
He said that his initial role in the investigation was to take the complainant up to her room and ask her what had happened.
Hubert said that the alleged victim told him Duke had raped her. He asked her what she meant by that in order to make sure that the child knew what that meant. She then provided further details describing the alleged rape, Hubert testified.
Hubert immediately stopped the questioning and ordered other officers to place Duke under arrest while the complainant was taken to Regina General Hospital for a rape kit.
The brother was taken by another officer to be interviewed by officers with the Regina Children's Justice Centre.
The four-day trial at Court of Queens Bench in Regina is set to resume on Monday afternoon.