New 'revelatory' testimony in torture trial throws...
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Jan 28, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

New 'revelatory' testimony in torture trial throws defence, Crown for a loop

Our London

The trial of two London people accused of torturing their roommate has been adjourned to Feb. 5.

Scheduling conflicts between the judge hearing the case, the Crown attorney and defence counsel led to an afternoon recess full of calendar-comparing Monday (Jan. 28).

When the dust settled, it was clear the Crown would conclude its case Feb. 5-6. A judgment is not expected until at least the week of Feb. 19.

Johnathon Rick, 38 and Cynthia Anderson, 36, face five charges jointly including aggravated sexual assault and unlawful confinement. Rick faces an additional six charges, including assault and sexual assault.

The trial faced a number of delays and recesses Monday after the revelation the alleged victim, a 27-year-old London woman with cerebral palsy and intellectual delays, had crafted “eight pages” of notes Friday evening (Jan. 25) possibly detailing other assaults even assistant Crown attorney Fraser Ball was not privy to. At that point she had testified for two days via closed circuit television.

Court heard those handwritten pages had been placed in a locked “shredding” box at the Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) office at the London courthouse.

Defence lawyers Antin Jaremchuk and Wally Lipis told Ontario Superior Court Justice Lynne Leitch they did not intend to cross-examine the witness until they saw the notes and were able to present them to their respective clients and receive direction from them.

The notes were not retrieved and circulated to the defence until late afternoon Monday (Jan. 28).

Their expression of concern was preceded by testimony from the alleged victim that Rick controlled her financial and social life for years. She said he kept her bank debit cards and passwords to two bank accounts and several social media accounts (Facebook, MSN Messenger and Hotmail) and spent her money on rent, food and his “hydro and Rogers” bills.

She testified to several incidents of assault she had not detailed in her statement to police, including having cleaning products such as VIM and bleach, shampoo and dish soap forced down her throat by Rick and Anderson. She detailed three separate incidents, saying she was being punished for lying and/or leaving the room she was banished to while Rick and Anderson left the apartment, be it a storage closet or the bathroom.

Though challenged to pin down exact lengths of time, she said she spent up to two weeks vomiting and experiencing diarrhea after ingesting the chemicals.

Court heard when she moved in with Rick and Anderson, she was forbidden from contacting friends, most of whom she met through an ex-boyfriend and through playing Dungeons and Dragons.

She had only been allowed out of their apartment on two occasions, both times to walk to a nearby grocery store, and was forbidden by Anderson and Rick from speaking to anyone while on those outings because “they would be able to see the marks” incurred by assaults she testified to including burn marks, “whip” marks, bruises on her face and scarring.

She also said she witnessed Rick assaulting Anderson, and seeing “bruises” on the face of the co-accused, after Rick had decided Anderson had “lied” to him.

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