Warning: This article contains graphic content. Discretion is advised.
For the first time in Matthew Albert Percy‘s sexual assault trial, we heard from the former Saint Mary’s University groundskeeper accused of sexually assaulting a woman in December 2014.
The Crown played a videotaped police interview with Percy recorded, only days after the alleged assault occurred at a Dalhousie University residence on Dec. 6, 2014.
Wearing a blue hoodie under a grey-green jacket, the then-31-year-old sobbed as he answered questions from Det.-Const. Bridget Cross, the lead investigator on the case.
“I look at it as three sides. Her side, your side and the truth,” said Cross, as she encouraged Percy to recount what happened that night.
His answers would confirm many of the acts alleged by the complainant, although he says they were consensual.
But charges would not be brought against Percy until 2018, four years after the interview, when he was accused of other sexual assaults.
The former Saint Mary’s University groundskeeper has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm and the trial is being heard by judge alone in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
The complainant’s identity is protected by a publication ban.
She testified earlier this week that she was 19 when she met Percy after partying at Cheers, a bar that existed at the time in The Dome, a multi-level nightclub in downtown Halifax.
She said Percy invited her to get poutine at a nearby take-out restaurant, only for them to stop at the nearby Toothy Moose bar for a drink before getting the food.
They would eventually end up at her Dalhousie residence on LeMarchant Street.
She has alleged that Percy would then assault her multiple times, in both her bedroom and the nearby washroom, leaving her with bite marks on her neck and painful bruises on her rear that left her unable to sit down for days.
The complainant testified that she “clearly told Percy no” as he violently sexually assaulted her.
But under cross-examination, defence attorney Peter Planetta sought to portray the gaps in the complainant’s memory — which she said are the result of intoxication that night and the six years that have passed since the incident — as periods in which she could’ve consented to the incidents in question.
Percy’s recorded statement diverges from the complainant on a few key events during the night.
He made no mention of going to the Toothy Moose in his statement and said that they began to take one another’s clothes off once they arrived at her dorm.
Percy alleged that the complainant said “take me, take me” to him at one point throughout the night — a statement that she strenuously objected to during cross-examination earlier this week.
Percy portrayed the evening as passionate but rough sex between two consenting individuals.
He admitted to not using a condom, but said that he noticed scratch marks and injuries on the complainant’s rear that he compared to having “slid on turf” before the moved to the washroom.
Percy said it appeared that the injuries appeared a day old when he noticed them.
He said that he asked the complainant how she got them, which she replied as saying “You did that to me.”
It’s an allegation that lines-up with a conversation the complainant described in her testimony, but that she said occurred after painful, non-consenting anal sex in her washroom.
But Percy described the complainant as initially resistant to having anal sex before she ultimately said yes.
“I never meant to hurt her and I just wanted to have a good time and release some stress,” Percy said.
Police officer and former roommate testify
Police Constable James Wasson took the stand earlier in the afternoon. Wasson was the forensic officer on call the day that the complainant went to police.
He testified that he photographed and collected bedsheets from the complainant’s apartment.
He would also swab a stain found in the bathroom. It was later determined to be composed of two separate DNA profiles — one would be an unidentified male’s semen, while the other could not be identified due the limited amount found at the location.
It was not tested against Percy’s DNA until the case was re-opened in 2018, when it was found to be a match.
The court also heard from the roommate of the complainant who testified that she did not see the bruises or bite marks left by the alleged assault as she and the complainant got ready to go out that night.
But portions of her testimony were picked apart by Planetta on cross-examination when asked if she had seen her roommates rear — where the bruising is alleged to have appeared — that night.
The roommate admitted that she had not.
Percy was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a woman on Saint Mary’s University campus while he was acquitted in a separate sex assault trial in 2018.
The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday with testimony from friends of the complainant.