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P.E.I. man awaits verdict on sex offences charges dating back 20 years

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - A 62-year-old man facing 17 charges related to alleged sex offences will hear his fate next month in P.E.I. Supreme Court.

Leo Arnold Dowling appeared before Justice Nancy Key in Charlottetown Friday where lawyers on both sides made their final submissions in the trial involving multiple complainants and allegations dating back more than 20 years.

During her submissions, Crown attorney Valerie Moore said the complainants’ evidence was compelling, detailed and consistent.

None of the evidence in the case raises reasonable doubt, she said.

Dowling is charged with offences that include allegations of sexual interference, indecent assault, sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching.

During the trial, the court heard testimony about Dowling that included allegations of him putting his hand inside a complainant’s shirt to touch her chest, swinging one of them around while he touched her chest and touching a victim’s vagina through her clothing.

He denied the allegations.

Throughout most of Friday’s proceedings, which lasted several hours, Dowling showed no reaction to the submissions as he sat at the defence table looking straight ahead with his hands clasped in front of him.

Moore told the court the events the complainants described were recurring and weren’t isolated incidents.

There were things that stood out to the victims, and they didn’t give vague descriptions during their testimony, Moore said.

“They had memories of the abuse, the molestations being linked to particular things in their lives.”

Moore said there was no forensic evidence and the only witnesses to the alleged offences were the victims, but that is the norm rather than the exception in that kind of case.

As she finished her submissions, Moore said that when looking at the totality of the evidence, Dowling’s denials were implausible.

Defence lawyer Scott Barry said in his submissions that the evidence of each complainant needs to be able to stand on its own when it comes to the burden of proof.

In criminal cases, the Crown must prove the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Barry said the Crown failed to do so.

The evidence in the case involved events alleged to have happened more than 20 years ago, and Barry said there was bound to be uncertainty in some witness recollections.

Dowling will be back in court Dec. 20 to hear Key’s decision.

A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the victims.

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