Court hears from Gee-Gees hockey coach, complainant’s friend

The trial of former University of Ottawa hockey players Guillaume Donovan and David Foucher for sexual assault ended on Friday, Feb. 16, with a decision to be given on June 25.

Donovan and Foucher were charged after allegedly sexually assaulting a student at Lakehead University in February of 2014. The trial, which ran from Feb. 5-16 in Thunder Bay, had been moved back twice, first in August of 2016 and then in August of 2018.

The allegations led to the hockey team being disbanded temporarily, and the team’s coach at the time, Real Paiement, was fired.

In the first days of the trial, the complainant, whose name is protected by a publication ban, alleged that while she was with Donovan’s roommate, another Gee-Gees player at the hotel, having a consensual sexual encounter, when Donovan entered from the adjoining room, and two other Gee-Gees players came in and started nonconsensually having sex with her.

According to the CBC, when the trial resumed on Feb. 12, Christian Deslauriers, a lawyer for Donovan, repeatedly suggested that the complainant had consented to a threesome with one of the men that entered the room, which the complainant denied multiple times, saying, “that did not happen.”

Donovan’s defence also asked the complainant if she had attempted to coordinate her story with one of the witnesses when making statements to the police, which she also denied. She said she was initially hesitant to get the police involved.

On Feb. 13, Celina Saint-Francois, the lawyer for Foucher, questioned how the complainant had identified Foucher, who was the captain of the team at the time.

The Crown then questioned a friend of the complainant, whom the complainant called to pick her up following the alleged assault. The friend said the complainant was “hysterically crying.” The friend said she then told the Gee-Gees coach, and later the U of O, that there had been an incident, but did not name the complainant. She said the university went to the police.

The Crown then questioned former hockey player Mathieu Leduc, who said the team had been partying in the adjoining room where the alleged sexual assault took place. He also said he saw Foucher and two other players who were “naked except for boots” enter that room.

He later said that he “did not see a sexual assault take place.”

On Feb. 14, former coach Paiement said that he interviewed the players after he was informed of the incident, and concluded that the complainant had agreed to a threesome. Paiement said he had decided not to involve police.

In closing statements on Feb. 15, the lawyers for the defence called the complainant a “liar,” and said she had not provided a consistent timeline of events, and that her identification of Foucher was weak.

The Crown said that consent was the main issue, and the court should believe when she said she had not given it. He also called into question Foucher’s testimony, as Foucher had told his coach that he didn’t remember the incident.

Justice Chantal Brochu said that a decision should be made in the case by June 25.