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Sex assault testimony is contradictory: Penticton lawyer

Defence lawyer Michael Welsh attacked key points in a complainant's testimony. His client, Kenneth Johnson, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman over a 10-year-period.
May 03, 2013 - 6:20 AM

A complainant's testimony has too many holes to convict a man accused of sex crimes.

Defence lawyer Michael Welsh said in Penticton Supreme Court on Thursday the complainant's testimony not only conflicted with what a witness said it also contradicted her own testimony.

Welsh's client, Kenneth Johnson, formerly of Osoyoos, is accused of sexually assaulting the complainant from when she was 13 years old to when she was 21. He pled not guilty on Tuesday to charges of sexual assault, sexual interference with a person under 14 and touching a young person for sexual purpose.

The complainant alleged Johnson, whom she considered an uncle, had sex with her "countless times" at his house, at a place near an amusement park, in a car and somewhere on the shore of a local lake. She said Johnson pushed her into having sex even when she was pregnant with another man's child and later when she was married. She admitted to never saying no but she never gave consent either. She said she was afraid if she refused it would hurt their relationship.

Welsh attacked many of her claims and said "her evidence is inherently contradictory."

He said the complainant took birth control pills from when she was 14 to when she was 18 years of age but she became pregnant when she was 17.

She told the court Johnson had psoriasis on his penis. Welsh said his client does have the flaky skin disease but not on his genitals. If he did it would make sex very painful.

Welsh pointed out the complainant said at the sexual encounter in 2000, at the amusement park area, it was just her and Johnson. Rose Johnson, the wife of the accused, said others were present at that time.

"There's just not enough evidence to tell what happened," Welsh said.

Then there is the fact she could only remember a few details about a handful of sexual incidents. Welsh said she could not recall specifics about any one of the "countless" other encounters she alleged took place.

The 10-year time frame is also problematic. Welsh explained the complainant had numerous opportunities to tell family, friends, school officials and medical professionals about what she alleged happened to her.

Prosecutor Deb Drissell agreed there are gaps in the victim's testimony. "(And) it would be nice to have perfect witnesses."

She did attack Welsh's point over the length of time it took for the complainant to come forward. "I don't think the court can put any weight on it."

The case is expected to resume tomorrow at 2 p.m.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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