B.C. judge finds former RCMP officer not guilty of sexual assault
Marshall Jones - Managing Editor
RCMP Insp. Tim Shields speaks to reporters in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday April 9, 2010. A judge is expected to hand down his verdict today in the case of a retired RCMP inspector accused of sexually assaulting a civilian employee in a washroom at the force's headquarters in British Columbia.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
December 20, 2017 - 12:12 PM
VANCOUVER - A former RCMP inspector has been found not guilty of sexual assault by a British Columbia judge.
Tim Shields, who was a high-profile spokesman for the RCMP in the province, was accused of sexually assaulting a civilian employee in a washroom at the department's B.C. headquarters in 2009.
The complainant, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, told the trial that Shields led her to the unisex washroom before kissing and groping her.
Shields testified that the woman willingly participated in sex acts and then accused him of sexual assault.
Provincial court Judge Patrick Doherty said Wednesday he couldn't resolve from the testimony how the two ended up in a unisex bathroom together.
"I don't know whom to believe," Doherty said in delivering his decision.
"A criminal trial is not a credibility contest," he said, adding the Crown has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Crown argued during the trial that Shields had a "mistaken belief" about consent when he touched the woman's breasts, unbuttoned her pants and put her hands on his genitals.
Defence lawyer David Butcher questioned the woman's credibility, saying she had exchanged at least one flirtatious email with his client, and the pair's working relationship had evolved into intimate hugs in his office when the woman repeatedly walked in unannounced and sometimes closed the door.
Doherty said in the context of all the evidence, he had to consider what Shields told the court.
"His evidence raised a reasonable doubt in my mind against (the woman's) subjective assertion that she did not consent to sexual touching in the bathroom."
In her closing argument, Crown attorney Michelle Booker said Shields provided an extraordinarily detailed, mechanical and unreasonable account of the incident in the washroom when he testified, saying the woman "actively and enthusiastically" participated in sexual acts and made no attempt to escape from the washroom.
The complainant told the court Shields said he had something important to tell her before leading her down a flight of stairs and into the washroom, where he locked the door.
Shields joined the RCMP in 1996 and was promoted to inspector in 2009. He was suspended with pay in May 2015 in the middle of a code of conduct investigation. He left the force in December 2015 and was charged in May 2016.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2017