A woman who alleges she was attacked and raped by two RCMP officers in Watson Lake last March gave her testimony in a Whitehorse court on Tuesday.
The sexual assault occurred after Graham Belak, 30, and Shawn McLaughlin, 33, brought the woman to Belak’s residence following a party on March 8, 2009.
Belak poured the woman a glass of wine that she believes was laced with a date rape drug, she told the court on Tuesday afternoon.
Soon after, she began losing feeling on her lips and couldn’t smoke a cigar they were sharing. Then, McLaughlin approached her from the back and undid her pants while Belak asked her about her necklace.
The woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, didn’t believe the officers were about to do anything wrong. She just thought a bad joke had gone too far.
She bent down to pull up her pants while saying, “No, no, no,” but lost her balance. Graham then attacked her from the front and began having intercourse with her, she alleges.
McLaughlin held her hands behind her head while she tried to get free. She remembers being unable to move.
Then, she passed out. She woke up again to find herself on a nearby sofa with Graham still on top.
It wasn’t until nearly 6 a.m. that she woke up again and tried to find her clothes. She was disoriented and went home, where her anxious husband had been waiting for her.
“I wanted it all to be a bad dream,” she told a packed courthouse yesterday.
Both Belak and McLaughlin have pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charges. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The woman is expected to be cross-examined by defence lawyers this morning.
The defence counsel, Robert Warren and Andrew McKay, insinuated that the sex was consensual during their cross-examination of the victim’s husband on Tuesday morning.
The couple had moved to Watson Lake less than a week before the incident. Both were hoping to escape the fast pace of city life and settle in a rural region for a few years, the husband testified.
They knew few people in the community but were “very excited” to be living in a small town. During their first week, they were invited to a party at the home of Sean Walsh.
That Saturday afternoon, the husband, a soccer and rugby fan, discovered a free specialty sports channel that he decided to watch instead of attending the party.
“I wished I hadn’t found that channel,” he told the court.
His wife left for the party just after 8 p.m. and brought three or four beers with her. She testified later that she had at least two shots at the party, as well, and had smoked a marijuana joint on the walk to Walsh’s.
According to the husband, he woke up at 5:30 a.m. and his wife still wasn’t home. Panic-stricken, he tried to phone Walsh’s but there was no answer.
Less than an hour later, she walked through the door, haggard and glassy-eyed. He yelled at her but she remained practically nonverbal for the next day. He said he felt bad for berating her for not calling.
On Monday morning, she contacted local hospital staff and police to have a rape kit done. She testified that she had three showers on Sunday.
Earlier this week, the Crown prosecution, Robert Beck, from Edmonton, brought forward the doctor and nurse who performed a rape kit on the victim two days after the incident.
Dr. Danielle Sergeeva could not conclude from the victim’s injuries that a sexual assault did take place, she said.
There was slight bruising on the victim’s thighs but no evidence of rape in the vaginal or cervical area.
A defence lawyer asked Sergeeva if she thought Belak, who is six feet four inches tall and over 200 pounds, would likely have injured the victim if she had in fact been raped. She said, “Yes.”
Beck, the prosecutor, later asked Sergeeva if she had ever performed a rape kit where the victim only experienced a minimal amount of injury, such as in the current case. She also said, “Yes.”
Sergeeva also testified that the victim changed her story twice over the course of the Monday morning.
The victim originally said she woke up on the floor without her pants, said Sergeeva. She later told the doctor she woke up on the sofa.
The nurse who helped perform the rape kit, Katherine Kinsella-Relkoff, testified on Monday that she did not think the victim offered conflicting stories that morning.
On Monday, Walsh, the party host, also took the stand.
He testified that the victim was flirting with McLaughlin throughout the party, putting her hand on his legs and offering him seductive looks.
The court also saw photos taken before the officers and the victim left the party, which show the victim’s hands on both officer’s bodies and McLaughlin’s hand on her breast.
Yesterday, both the alleged victim and her husband described those actions as typical, harmless flirting. Both testified that they’ve engaged in that kind of flirting in each other’s presence on multiple occasions.
During the husband’s cross-examination, McKay brought forward an incident that took place in August during the trial’s preliminary hearing in Whitehorse.
According to a police report, both the alleged victim and her husband got into a fight after her testimony and RCMP were contacted. While neither of them believed the husband to be a physical danger, the police decided to separate the couple and took her to a shelter.
The husband, who had seen the two accused officers at a restaurant that morning, was then driven to Whitehorse General Hospital by the RCMP to make sure he was in a safe state of mind. He made an off-hand comment about killing the accused.
During his testimony on Tuesday, McKay asked whether he was homicidal, as the police report suggests. He replied, “No.”
The defence insinuated in its questioning that the victim might have been scared of her husband the day after the incident if she told him the sex was consensual. The husband was reluctant to answer questions about how angry he would have been had she told him that she had a threesome without his knowledge, as the defence suggested.
Both officers have been suspended with pay since the incident and have been living outside the Yukon. McLaughlin is married with two children. The victim testified that she and McLaughlin talked about his family at the party.
Watson Lake RCMP initially placed the charges but the Edmonton Police Service were soon called in to provide an independent examination of the evidence.
Half a dozen off-duty police officers were in attendance during the husband’s testimony on Tuesday. Several representatives from local women’s groups and victim services were also in court yesterday.
The trial is expected to last a week and is being presided over by Justice Leigh Gower.
The alleged victim and her husband left the Yukon more than a month after the incident and remain outside the territory.
Contact James Munson at