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Witnesses' behaviours called into question in closing arguments for rape trial

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July 14, 2016 - 1:02 PM


KAMLOOPS - As the trial for a man accused of raping a woman at gunpoint in the North Shore nearly 7 years ago wraps up, lawyers are asking the jury to focus on the behaviours of both the complainant and the accused.

Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate has called the woman's credibility into question, saying at the time of the attack she was a prostitute and addicted to crack.

"This lady was addicted to crack for a long time," Tate said to the jury. "She had to come up with a story."

Crown prosecutor Catriona Elliott focused on the behaviour of the accused, Taylor James Matchett, 28, when he took the stand in court yesterday, July 13.

"I would describe him as rather cocky," Elliott told the jury.

The woman who accuses Matchett of raping her on Nov. 11, 2009 had worked as a prostitute on Tranquille Road at the time. She cannot be named due to a court-ordered publication ban.

She testified in Kamloops Supreme Court earlier this week that on the night of the alleged attack, she approached Matchett's car asking if he wanted company.

He said yes, and agreed to drive to her home. Instead he began driving toward McArthur Island Park, where the woman says he pulled a gun as she got out of the car.

Tate has called the woman's testimony into question several times during the trial, pointing out differences between her story now and her statement to police the night of the alleged rape.

"If you make up a story, it's hard to keep your facts straight," Tate said in his closing arguments today. "She isn't telling the truth. She hasn't told the truth ... You should acquit Mr. Matchett."

Elliott recognizes that the woman wasn't truthful when she first spoke to police but that was because she was afraid of not being taken seriously because she was a prostitute.

"She apologized directly to you for that lie," Elliott told the jury.

The woman told the court in her testimony that Matchett held a gun to her head and demanded oral sex. He told her if she bit him, he would shoot and kill her. She says Matchett raped her after that.

Matchett had a different story, testifying yesterday that the sex was consensual and she went to the police as blackmail because his condom broke.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations today.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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