Halifax lawyer testifies in own defence at sex assault trial
A Halifax defence lawyer accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in March 2011 testified in his own defence on Monday.
Lyle Howe, 29, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Howe told the court how he met up with the woman at a bar and then at his law offices, followed by her apartment.
He said she poured them a drink and they started to play a game of pool. He said there was some sexual touching and sexual activity.
Howe testified the woman was a willing participant and told the court she wasn’t impaired.
“Nothing at all that suggested to me she wasn’t fully aware,” he said.
Howe testified he never owned GHB – commonly referred to as the date rape drug – and said he knew very little about it. He told the court he didn’t put anything in the woman’s drink.
During cross-examination, the Crown suggested that Howe was minimizing the amount of alcohol the woman drank, so that it would make it more believable when he said she was sober that night.
The Crown also pointed to discrepancies in evidence given by Jeff Brown, a friend of Howe’s who was at the apartment while Howe and the woman were together.
“Different people have different points of view,” said Crown prosecutor Darcy MacPherson. “But some of these are more pronounced than others.”
“He’s sticking to his evidence,” said defence lawyer Mike Taylor. “He’s trying the best he can to stay with his original evidence. The Crown is trying to throw him off.”
Both lawyers agree the case is a test of credibility. Taylor said that is one of the reasons he called his client to the stand.
“The jury’s going to need to make a decision and they’ll need to have something to consider against the backdrop of the evidence of the complainant,” said Taylor.
“That’s one of the main things that it comes down to because when we talk about the events themselves, the complainant testified she can’t recall them so we have to go by other sources of evidence and one of those sources of evidence is the accused’s testimony,” said MacPherson.
Cross-examination will resume Tuesday morning.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster