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Military prosecutors stress there are ‘no rules’ for how sex assault victims should behave

FILE - A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014. .
FILE - A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014. . The Canadian Press/Lars Hagberg

A prosecutor told a five-man military panel Monday that suggesting sexual assault victims need to act a certain way after an assault reinforces “archaic sexual myths.”

Military prosecutor Maj. Larry Langlois made his closing argument in a court martial against a Halifax-based military policeman accused of sexually assaulting a superior officer during a Royal Canadian Navy exercise in Glasgow, Scotland.

Langlois told the panel that the woman, whose name is protected by a publication ban, told Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre no “at least 15 times” during the alleged Sept. 27, 2015, incident.

“This is a case of someone who would not take no for an answer,” said Langlois. “Someone who would not listen.”

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Defence lawyer David Bright argued that the two had consensual sex and that the woman reported the incident to cover the fact that she slept with a subordinate and cheated on her husband. MacIntyre, 48, was redeployed soon after.

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On Monday, Bright told the panel that the woman “doesn’t want MacIntyre there every day to remind her of her infidelity and his infidelity,” adding that the “consequences could be overwhelming for both of them.”

Bright had also taken issue with testimony that she couldn’t eat in the weeks following the incident, producing an Oct. 11, 2015, Facebook photo showing her sitting before a large plate of food during high tea at a Glasgow restaurant.

READ MORE: Lawyer challenges female military officer’s story in sex-assault case

In testimony last week, the woman said she took the photo to reassure her family back home that she was well during her trip and that she actually ate very little that day.

Other photos posted on social media show the woman smiling with her team members – something that Bright said harms her credibility.

“We have photos of her apparently enjoying herself,” he said Monday afternoon.

“She’s entitled to enjoy herself. But for God’s sake, just come forward and say you were enjoying yourself, not that you were just smiling for the camera.”

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Langlois argued that the pictures don’t prove anything, saying there are “no rules” about how victims are supposed to act in the aftermath of a sexual assault.

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“The defence will be grasping at straws,” Langlois told the panel. “There is no normal or typical way to behave.”

The woman testified last week that she awoke that night to find MacIntyre in her hotel bed after the navy team ate dinner at a nearby restaurant.

She said she told MacIntyre “no” and continually removed his hand from her lower extremities.

She said he eventually penetrated her, and testified that she believes she “just froze.” She said she eventually fell asleep and MacIntyre was still in her bed when she woke up around 6:30 a.m.

READ MORE: Military cop accused of sexual assault testifies at court martial

During his closing argument, Bright wondered why she fell asleep with him still in her bed after the alleged assault.

“I agree we shouldn’t concern ourselves with rape myths,” he told the panel. “We should concern ourselves with common sense.”

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He also noted that while she discussed the alleged incident with her superiors in the days following, she didn’t make a formal report for six months.

But Langlois said there are many reasons why victims might not report a sexual assault right away, including embarrassment and fear of re-traumatization during the court process.

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He added that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim.

“Sexual assault does not always fall into the stereotype of a stranger jumping out of the bushes and overpowering their victim,” he said.

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Bright also attacked the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses, saying there was “significant witness contamination” in that they corroborated each other’s evidence and held a bias against MacIntyre.

Military judge Cdr. J.B.M. Pelletier will deliver his final instructions to the panel this week.