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Judge finds P.E.I. farmer guilty of sexual assault

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A Pleasant Valley dairy farmer who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman while he was alone with her in his kitchen was found guilty Friday.

Elmer Franklin Weeks, 68, appeared before Chief Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court in Charlottetown where she delivered her decision after a two-day trial.

In her decision, Orr said that considering all the evidence she was satisfied Weeks committed a sexual assault on the victim.

The victim, who sat in the courtroom surrounded by supporters, cried as soon as the verdict was read, as did some of the people who were there with her. 

During the trial, the court heard testimony from the victim who said she was alone in the kitchen at Weeks’ home on Weeksdale Holsteins farm when he assaulted her. 

She testified Weeks touched different parts of her body, including her breasts, thighs and vaginal area through her pants.

The victim also told the court Weeks tried to make her touch him and he asked if she wanted to go to the bedroom with him.

Several witnesses testified the victim told them about the assault soon after it happened.

About 20 people were in the courtroom Friday as Orr took more than an hour to read her decision and analysis of the evidence she heard during the trial.

Orr said the main issue was addressing the credibility and reliability of the witnesses.

Although Orr said that what the victim told other people about the assault can’t be used as proof of the allegations, it can be used in assessing credibility and reliability.

Weeks didn’t testify during the trial, but video of his statement to police was played in court and Orr said it confirmed the victim’s testimony that he was in the house with her.

Orr said the victim was emotional at times during her testimony, but for the most part she gave her evidence in a clear manner.

During the submissions at the end of the trial, the defence argued there were inconsistencies in the evidence.

While Orr noted there were inconsistencies in the case, she said they weren’t significant and didn’t affect the victim’s credibility.

After hearing the guilty verdict, Weeks sat back in his chair, at one point letting out a long sigh before getting up and leaving the courtroom with several people who were there with him.

Orr adjourned the matter until Oct. 11 for sentencing and ordered a pre-sentence report be prepared.

A publication ban prevents the release of any details that could identify the victim.

Ryan.ross@theguardian.pe.ca
Twitter.com/ryanrross


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