Warrant Officer Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault

Warrant Officer Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault

2014-08-23 Justice

Levis (Quebec) August 23, 2014 – Following a long trial and media frenzy over the case, Warrant Officer André Gagnon was found not guilty of sexual assault on Stéphanie Raymond, then a Corporal and now no longer a member of the armed forces.

The alleged events occurred around Christmas 2011, when Gagnon and Raymond found themselves alone at the Lévis armoury after a party in which both had been drinking. The two ended up involved in heavy foreplay before Raymond’s objections caused Gagnon to put a stop to his advances.

Raymond claimed she had not consented to the foreplay and was acting on the orders of Gagnon, who held a superior rank. Gagnon’s defense was that he had sincere reason to believe that Raymond was consenting to the foreplay, she having sat astride on his lap and engaged in playful activities after following him to a secluded area of the armoury at his invitation – not his order – in order to call a taxi to drive them home.

The jury, consisting of 5 male officers, deliberated for three days over the messy affair, which hinged on the definition of consent – examining cell phone records, maps of the armoury, and very detailed accounts of the sexual activity given by both parties. They ultimately judged that although Raymond may not have consented, Gagnon had a sincere belief that she had, stopped his advances immediately when she voiced her first objection, and was therefore not guilty of sexual assault.

Upon hearing the verdict, Gagnon – stoic throughout the trial – embraced his lawyer. Raymond was not present when the verdict was given.

The prosecution has 30 days to appeal the decision.

Life in Québec staff writer

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