Former Manitoba RCMP officer on trial for sexual assault involving a child
A trial got underway in the Interlake Monday morning for a former RCMP officer charged with sexual assault and sexual interference involving a child.
Robert Dowd has pleaded not guilty to the charges which stem from allegations made on the night of Sept. 26, 2014.
A 9-year-old girl alleges she was inappropriately touched while her family attended a small gathering at a campground in the northwest part of the Interlake.
Ten people sat in a community hall in Ashern to hear the first day of testimony in the trial by judge.
Court heard the complainant was with her father, brother and six other people including Dowd, who was not on-duty at the time, at a campfire the accused hosted outside his trailer located in the R.M. of Siglunes.
The complainant, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, testified Monday with a support worker by her side.
A white divider separated the complainant and the accused from seeing each other.
While she was on the stand, Crown prosecutor Minh Nguyen played two video statements the girl gave to police hours after the allegations were made.
Court heard a few members of the group had been stargazing a short distance from the campfire before returning to their seats around the fire.
In the first police statement played for the judge, the complainant tells an officer conducting the interview the accused asked her and her brother to leave a second time to look for a satellite in the sky.
The complainant said in her statement to police she was inappropriately touched when she was alone with the accused.
Court heard the accused and the complainant returned to the campsite before the complainant left with her father and brother.
The complainant's father testified that on the drive home to their trailer about five minutes away, he asked his daughter if anything happened.
"My daughter was sitting very quietly and I could see the look on her face that something was not right," the dad testified.
He told court his daughter explained more when they got back to their camper.
The father contacted a relative who drove him and his daughter to a nearby RCMP detachment to file a police report.
Under cross-examination, Dowd's lawyer Bruce Bonney asked the father what he said to his daughter prior to the statement the girl gave to police.
"You went through all the details of what happened with her," Bonney stated.
"I didn't want her to forget to tell the officer the facts of what happened," the father replied.
"Did you high-five your daughter when you found out he was being charged," Bonney asked.
The father testified he did not but Bonney told court the father's ex-wife said in her statement that he did high-five their daughter.
Bonney told court there were inconsistencies between the father's testimony and his initial statement to police about who was around the fire when his daughter was alone with the accused.
The father acknowledged the error and told court his initial police statement was accurate.
The father told court he was first introduced to the accused the night of the campfire by mutual friends.
RCMP spokesperson Paul Manaigre said Dowd has resigned and is no longer a member of the RCMP.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday morning.
Closing arguments are expected Friday.