Sexual assault trial underway

Gilles Robert Leger of Abbotsford is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference of a child under 16

  • Dec. 20, 2014 7:00 p.m.
A sexual assault trial for Gilles Robert Leger began this week in Chilliwack and is scheduled to continue in January.

A sexual assault trial for Gilles Robert Leger began this week in Chilliwack and is scheduled to continue in January.

by Paul Henderson, Black Press

The victim of an alleged sexual assault that happened on a Chilliwack camping trip three years ago faced hard questions from the lawyer for the Abbotsford man accused of the attack in BC Supreme Court on Monday.

Gilles Robert Leger’s trial for sexual assault and sexual interference of a child under 16 began Monday and continued until Wednesday.

Leger, 46, is accused of the assault on a 15-year-old girl while camping at Gill Bar on the Fraser River in Chilliwack on Oct. 1, 2011.

A video of the victim’s statement to police on Oct. 2, 2011 was played in court, and the now 18-year-old was on the stand as a Crown witness.

She cannot be named due to a publication ban, and some details of the trial that could identify her cannot be published.

The alleged incident happened at an unofficial but popular camping area at the gravel bar. Leger offered to take the victim on a ride on his side-by-side ATV, the young woman testified.

Leger, the girl and some of her friends had been drinking alcohol the older man had purchased.

The young woman said in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack that Leger took her for a ride about 10 minutes away from the campsite, and then forced himself upon her at the back of the ATV.

“I kept telling him ‘No,’” she said on the stand. “I kept saying ‘no’ . . . think of your wife.’”

There were a number of details of the alleged assault the girl could not remember, either in court this week or when talking to police a day after the alleged assault in 2011. She said she didn’t remember how the incident started once the ATV stopped, or how the attack concluded, but she did remember details before, during and later.

Leger’s lawyer Vincent Michaels questioned the young woman’s ability to remember details.

He also questioned claims the girl made about memories “popping” into her mind weeks after the alleged attack. The court heard that she had entered one such detail into the notes function on a Blackberry, something she said she later deleted.

When asked to produce the phone so that an expert could find the note, she refused.

“Because it didn’t happen,” Michaels suggested.

“Yes, it did,” she responded.

“I’m suggesting that you were caught in a lie and you knew it,” Michaels said. “Agree or disagree?”

“Disagree,” she said.

The girl’s friend was on the stand Tuesday morning, and police officers and a witness from the campsite testified Wednesday. The trial is scheduled to continue Jan. 5.

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