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Final arguments heard in former Clearwater coach’s trial

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
September 28, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - After seven complainants and a videotaped confession were heard in court, it will be up to a Supreme Court Justice to decide if Alan Davidson is guilty of indecent assault.

The nearly three-week trial came to an end today, Sept. 28, after Crown and defence lawyers entered their closing arguments.

Davidson is charged with seven counts of indecent assault dating back to his time as a coach and auxiliary RCMP officer in Clearwater in the 1970s. He was in his early 20s at the times of the alleged incidents.

In her closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Alex Janse said the court needs to consider four questions for each complainant in the case to come up with a verdict. First, did an indecent act occur? Second, what was the age of the complainant? Third, If the complainant was 14 years old or older, was Davidson in a position of trust or authority to that person? And finally, if the complainant was 14 years old or older, did they consent to the act?

Janse argued in Kamloops Supreme Court that consent means an active will in the mind of the complainant to perform the sexual act. She says that wasn’t the case for these complainants.

“The victims did not exercise their will at all and simply allowed the acts to occur,” she argued.

At the time of the alleged offences, the age of consent in Canada was 14 years old. Some complainants in the case were younger than 14, others were around 14, and some were older.

One of the points Janse and defence lawyer John Gustafson disagreed on was whether or not Davidson was in a position of authority or trust toward any of the complainants.

Janse argued that Davidson was a coach to several of the complainants in different sports. She also said Davidson was trusted by the complainant’s parents in many cases to go on fishing or camping trips. Some referred to him as a mentor or someone they looked up to.

Court heard some complainants testified that they were confused or unsure of what was going on while the alleged incidents occurred. Janse said if a complainant doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, it can’t constitute consent.

But Gustafson argued that the court needs to be cautious in accepting statements of people who are recalling things from decades ago, and if a complainant can’t remember what led to the alleged sexual acts, the court can’t find that consent wasn’t given.

He also argued that many of the complainants didn’t consider Davidson a figure of authority. Gustafson said some of those who testified jokingly referred to Davidson as a “rent-a-cop” or a “keystone” police officer, and some saw him as a friend.

Gustafson said in some instances, Davidson would attempt physical contact with a complainant, then when they would voice their objection, Davidson would stop.

A videotaped interview between Davidson and RCMP Sgt. Darren Carr was played in a hearing during trial. Near the end of the eight-and-a-half-hour interview, Davidson admits to some of the allegations against him and personally apologizes to each of the complainants.

Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan ruled the video as admissible evidence in trial. Lawyers will meet again next month to set a date for Donegan's verdict in the case.

For more coverage on this trial go here.

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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