The Facts: Our client, who owns his own business in Burlington, was separated from his wife Gina, who wanted half of Roger’s business after 8 years of marriage. Gina had a daughter, Clare, from a previous marriage, who lived with Roger and Gina. The couple also had a son together, named Jake. Jake was four at the time of the charges against Roger; Clare was sixteen. During the year-long trial separation, they all lived on Roger’s horse farm, but in separate houses. One day in early 2007, Roger officially filed for divorce and for a court order evicting Gina from the property. Gina had also signed a prenuptial agreement before the marriage, and stood to receive very little of Roger’s money. Two days later, Gina went to the police and reported that Roger had been sexually abusing his stepdaughter Clare for the whole eight years of their marriage. The police arrested Roger, and charged him with seven sexual assault offences stretching out over an eight year period.
The Defence Strategy: From the beginning, Roger had made it clear that he had never behaved inappropriately towards his stepdaughter. A thorough investigation revealed that Gina had made a similar complaint against her former husband, and we were able to gain access to the court documents to show that there was a striking pattern to Gina’s allegations. We also brought a successful application to get a copy of Clare’s diary, which showed that she was being pressured by her mother to tell the police that Roger had been sexually assaulting her for years. Gin had even promised her a new pony if she did so. We also interviewed two of Clare’s close friends, who revealed more details about Gina pressuring her to accuse Roger. The final blow came from a statement that Gina made to Roger after his arrest, in which she hinted that if he didn’t come through with a big cash settlement of the divorce, she wouldn’t be surprised if the police charged him with sexually assaulting their son Jake as well. That conversation was tape-recorded.
The Result: This case never made it to trial. Following a very successful preliminary hearing, where we caught Gina and Clare in a number of lies, we put together a comprehensive brief for the Crown Attorney in Milton to show that Gina had a strong motive to lie about the sexual assaults, that she had done so before, and had pressured her daughter Clare to make a statement to police. In addition, as is often the case with fabricated stories, the details that Gina and Clare gave were in many ways inconsistent with what they had said earlier, and even with each other’s accounts. The Crown Attorney for Halton Region (Oakville, Burlington, Milton and the surrounding area) reviewed our brief and withdrew all the charges. Roger still has his farm and his business, and Gina has remarried for the third time. Roger has forgiven Clare, and while he does not see her very often anymore, he bought her a pony for her 18th birthday.Back
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