KELOWNA - John Charles Allan admits he was fondling himself in his car near a Lake Country park nearly two years ago, but he claims he concealed his genitals. The man who spotted Allan touching himself claims the accused's genitals were in full view. These two versions of events were explored at his trial in Kelowna today.
Allan, 66, wearing black pants and a striped shirt, appeared in person at Kelowna court today, March 1, sitting behind his lawyer Wade Jenson. Allan is charged with indecent exhibition in public place for an incident at the Splash Park in Lake Country on Jun. 20, 2017.
The Crown's case opened with testimony from Barry Anderson, the man who claims he saw Allan masturbating in his car.
Anderson took the stand to state he visited the park with his family on June 20 and he saw Allan sitting in his parked car, which was positioned between two parking spots. The water park is a popular spot for families and several children were there.
Anderson claimed Allan was holding his phone on the steering wheel with his left hand; he couldn't see his right hand. He suspected something might be going on, so he approached Allan's car at the driver's side. Anderson alleged Allan, whose pants were down above his knees, seemed to be filming his genitals with his phone. He also stated Allan seemed to be fondling himself.
Anderson said he reached through the open car window to grab and punch Allan several times. He asked if Allan was a pedophile, which Allan denied. Anderson let Allan go and asked someone to call the police. Anderson stayed near Allan, who was very quiet, until the police arrived at the scene.
When defence lawyer Wade Jenson questioned Anderson, he pointed out that the view of the park was partially obscured by several trees from where Allan was parked. He also posited that since Anderson claimed Allan was holding the phone vertically, it would be impossible for its camera to capture his genital area.
"I know what I saw," he said. "I clearly saw his genital area on his phone."
Const. Sean Eckland, who attended the scene, testified he found Anderson with blood on his hands when he arrived at the water park. After hearing Anderson's account, the RCMP placed Allan under arrest and took him to the Lake Country RCMP detachment. Eckland noted Allan, who was covered with marks, declined to give a statement about Anderson's attack. Anderson was not charged with assault stemming from the incident.
Jenson noted police took Allan's phone and found no photos of children, child pornography or the park itself on the device.
Allan, who looked visibly upset at times, took the stand to give his version of events. He said he was waiting for an optometrist to fill out his new prescription and he had an hour to kill on June 20. He said he went to Splash Park and positioned his car near spraying water to receive cool air, noting it was a very hot day. While he sat in his car, Allan said he flipped through his phone and found photos of his naked girlfriend.
"I got a bit of an urge and started to play with myself," he said.
He said he pulled his pants down slightly, taking care to conceal his genitals. He said he took no photos of children. As he was playing with himself, Allan said Anderson appeared and started punching him, making his ears bleed. Allan said Anderson put him in a sort of chokehold.
"I was gasping for air," he said.
Crown lawyer David Ruse asked Allan if he thought it would be inappropriate to fondle himself near a park with children. Ruse also said Allan had binoculars in his car, which Allan said he uses for hiking trips.
Jenson said the charge against his client is unusual, as he's only found five uses of it across Canada. He said exhibition is an open display, which is not what happened. He said his client clearly did not want to be seen and made efforts to conceal himself. Jenson said the charge doesn't apply to the incident.
"It's been a very embarrassing, humiliating situation," he said.
Ruse said the park is a public place and Anderson would not have been able to see Allan's genitals if they'd been properly concealed. He said the case rests on the fact of whether or not the court believes Anderson's account. Ruse believed the Crown proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Judge Marguerite Shaw said she needs time to render her decision. A sentencing date will be set on March 4.
Allan has no criminal record.
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