CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A teenager took the stand Tuesday to describe in detail how she was allegedly raped – but eliciting the testimony took a lengthy and concerted effort from both the Crown and a judge.
The young woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, was called by Crown attorney Lisa Goulden to testify in the trial of Ugochukwu Godwill Egwuekwe, 23, who is charged with sexually assaulting the woman.
The complainant simply froze and sat silent time and again when Goulden asked her to describe what happened in Egwuekwe’s Charlottetown apartment on June 28.
Finally, a clearly frustrated Goulden told the complainant “I can’t tell the story for you. You have to tell us what happened.’’
Provincial Court Judge John Douglas also urged the witness to respond.
“I need you to tell me if something happened, what happened,’’ the judge instructed.
To put her more at ease, Douglas took the uncommon action of clearing the courtroom of observers, including the complainant’s parents and two men that the witness felt were snickering at her. Media was permitted to stay.
The complainant, who was 17 at the time of the alleged offence, says she and Egwuekwe smoked four or five marijuana joints in Egwuekwe’s bedroom on the night in question.
“I wasn’t in the right state of mind,’’ she told the court. “I just didn’t feel like myself.’’
She says Egwuekwe started kissing her while the pair sat on his bed.
She testified the accused proceeded to remove her clothes despite her protestations.
The complainant told the court the man forced himself on her, engaging in sexual intercourse despite her telling him to stop. She says he did not wear a condom.
She said the alleged rape spanned 20 to 30 minutes.
The complainant said she was a virgin before Egwuekwe allegedly raped her. She said the alleged rape exacerbated her already existing anxiety and depression, resulting in five hospital stays and an attempt to overdose on medication in December.
The court heard testimony Monday from Det. Tara Watts of the Charlottetown Police Services that the complainant received a sex assault examination hours after the alleged rape. Watts testified recovered semen was deemed a match with a DNA sample taken from Egwuekwe.
Egwuekwe, in a videotaped statement to police played in court Monday, denied having sex with the complainant.
He is expected to take the stand when the case resumes Friday.