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Former SMU groundskeeper won’t testify in his own defence at sexual assault trial

Matthew Albert Percy, a former Saint Mary’s University groundskeeper, was found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm after a two-week-long trial in February 2020. Global News

Former Saint Mary’s University groundskeeper Matthew Percy will not testify in his own defence at his third sexual assault trial.

Percy’s defence attorney Peter Planetta was given an opportunity to call evidence at Nova Scotia Supreme Court Tuesday morning, where only the complainant’s former roommate took the stand.

Planetta did not call any other witnesses.

READ MORE: Crown rests case in Matthew Percy sexual assault trial

Percy is accused of sexually assaulting a woman at her Dalhousie University residence on Dec. 6, 2014. The complainant, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, testified that she met Percy after a night of drinking in downtown Halifax.

They ended up back at her residence on LeMarchant Street, where the alleged assault occurred. The woman testified that the incident left her with bruise and bite marks, but in a police interview Percy described the interaction as rough and passionate sex.

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Percy has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

The trial is being heard by judge alone.

The defence’s only witness

Testimony on the sixth day of Percy’s trial heard only from a woman who lived with the complainant when the alleged assault occurred.

The roommate, whose identity is being protected in order to protect the identity of the complaint, testified that she went to bed between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. the night of the incident, but was later awoken by noises in a next-door room.

“I heard moaning and slapping,” the witness testified. “I thought they would stop and when they didn’t I messaged [the complainant] to ask her to keep it down.”

The witness added that she didn’t hear any words that would indicate something bad was happening.

Click to play video: 'Complainant takes the stand at sexual assault trial of former SMU groundskeeper' Complainant takes the stand at sexual assault trial of former SMU groundskeeper
Complainant takes the stand at sexual assault trial of former SMU groundskeeper – Feb 18, 2020

The roommate testified that the next day after a morning exam, she came home to find the complainant crying in her housecoat.

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It was then, she said, that they discussed the prospect of taking the allegations to police.

“It takes a lot for someone to come forward, and I think she was nervous about it,” the roommate testified.

Percy testified in two prior trials

Percy’s case currently before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court is his third sexual assault trial. The first two incidents occurred in September 2017 and involved Saint Mary’s University students.

Percy was found guilty of sexual assault and voyeurism in one trial, but was acquitted on charges of sexual assault, choking to overcome resistance and voyeurism in the other.

In both of those trials, Percy took the stand in his own defence.

READ MORE: Matthew Percy describes alleged Saint Mary’s University sexual assault in police interview

Percy has already served a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. He has been denied bail while awaiting trial on this charge and another case scheduled for trial this year.

The Crown and defence are scheduled to deliver their final submissions to the court Thursday morning.

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