Tim Shields (File photo)

UPDATED: Crown calls ex-RCMP Tim Shields’ account of sexual encounter ‘rehearsed and self-serving’

Defence says consistent evidence from accused and complainant should be treated equally

Ex-RCMP Insp. Tim Shields’ “mechanical” and detailed recollection of a sexual encounter in an RCMP bathroom more than eight years ago is suspect, Crown said during closing arguments Wednesday.

Shields was charged with one count of sexual assault in May 2016. His trial has been running intermittently at provincial court in Vancouver since June.

The complainant, whose name is protected by a publication ban, alleges that Shields sexually assaulted her in an RCMP headquarters bathroom in the fall of 2009.

Both Crown and defence agree that the incident took place in 2009; where they differ is on the date of the incident and whether consent was given.

“[The complainant’s] unshaken evidence is that she did not consent,” said Crown counsel Michelle Booker.

Shields alleges that the sexual encounter was consensual and took place on April 29, 2009.

“They are diametrically opposed versions of events,” Booker said.

‘Carefully crafted narrative’

In court Wednesday morning, Crown attacked Shields’ testimony, calling it “too rehearsed” and “self-serving.”

“He used the same phraseology and terminology over and over again,” Booker said.

Reading from court transcripts of Shields’ testimony, she pinpointed what she called his “mantra,” a phrase he repeated multiple times throughout his time on the stand.

Whether over email, in conversation or through physical contact, they went from “friendly to flirty to sexualized,” Booker said, noting that at each step along the way, Shields was careful to paint a picture where the complainant acted and he reacted.

“It’s a rehearsed rendition of [the complainant] as the aggressor,” Booker said, reading Shields’ testimony of an office encounter that took place the day of the bathroom incident.

“’She advances towards me. She was pushing me into a very private place. I went along with it. Her hands were rubbing up my back. I reciprocated.’

“She is making every move and he’s reciprocating. In the office. On the staircase. ‘She touched my hand. She touched my hand again… we looked at each other and she said, ‘let’s do it.’’”

She questioned Shields’ ability to recall the exact date of the bathroom encounter and give a “step-by-step” accounting of what took place.

“More than eight years after the incident, the accused was able to pinpoint the particular afternoon when he says the bathroom incident occurred,” said Booker.

“’She made soft moaning noises. Her hands went up my back. She pulled my neck and head in tight.’”

Booker questioned how Shields was able to recall the bathroom incident in such detail while providing only broad strokes for the rest of his interactions with the complainant.

“Either the accused has convinced himself that this is the way it occurred, or he has fabricated a version of events that he understands would be required for consent.

“It defies belief.”

In a reply to Booker’s closing arguments, defence lawyer David Butcher questioned what he viewed as a double standard between Crown’s assessment of credibility for the accused and the complainant.

“Depending on our perspective… we can say things like Mr. Shields was consistent in his evidence throughout and throughout and therefore he had a rehearsed mantra,” Butcher said.

“But [the complainant] was consistent in her evidence throughout and that is a hallmark of credibility.”

Myth and stereotype

Booker took aim at Butcher’s “mosaic of facts” that the defence lawyer repeatedly referred back to in seeking to convince the judge that consent was given.

In his closing arguments on Tuesday, Butcher pointed to several of what he described as weaknesses in the complainant’s case, including her delay in filing a police report, her friendly demeanour towards Shields after the bathroom incident and a civil claim that she filed prior to speaking with police.

Booker cited case law and past Supreme Court decisions, telling the judge that he should not consider these factors in determining whether the complainant consented to Shields’ advances.

Butcher had acknowledged throughout his arguments that, taken one at a time, each factor should not sway the judge, but that taken together, they should paint a picture.

“Myth and stereotype are impermissible when adjudicating cases of sexual assault, because we know they are not true,” Booker said. “They deny justice to victims (of) sexual assault.”

Booker took issue with Butcher’s statement that nowhere was a sexual assault less likely than in a bathroom in a police station with RCMP officers within earshot.

She pointed out that there was no disagreement that a sexual encounter had occurred, only that it had been consensual, and that if a consensual sexual encounter was able to happen undetected, so could a possible assault.

In a reply to Booker’s closing arguments, Butcher noted that he was not maintaining that an assault could not happen in an RCMP bathroom and merely that if Shields was planning to commit an assault, it was improbable that he would choose a location so out in the open.

Defence is to submit their final replies to Crown’s closing arguments in the coming days.

A date for the verdict will be set on Friday and the judge hopes to make his decision before the end of the year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read