TORONTO– A male strip-club entertainer founded guilty of sexually attacking a woman who paid him for a lap dance need to get a new trial due to the fact that the judge counted on stereotypes of how women act, Ontario’s top court ruled on Thursday.
In quashing the conviction against Damir Cepic, the Court of Appeal faulted the judge’s reasoning in choosing the plaintiff, 23, did not consent to sex with him.
” The trial judge’s course to conviction rested mainly on a series of incorrect presumptions about what a girl would or would refrain from doing in the circumstances of this case,” the court stated. “The conviction should for that reason be reserved.”
The case emerged in March 2016, when the woman, determined only as OI, and seven sweethearts went to the Foxxes Den in Toronto to commemorate a birthday, court records reveal. It was OI’s very first time at such a club.
During the evening, OI paid Cepic $10 for a lap dance. He would testify she reached into his pants to touch his private parts, something she would reject. She then paid Cepic, 29, another $40 for a personal lap dance. This time, court heard, she carried out foreplay on him and he briefly penetrated her.
Cepic affirmed at trial before Superior Court Justice Anne London-Weinstein that he was currently having intercourse with the female and ready to climax when the lady stated, “no, I have a boyfriend.” She denied stating that and testified she told him, “no” and tried to press him off her.
After the dance, OI texted a good friend questioning what to inform her sweetheart. She also stated she was stressed her daddy, a law enforcement officer, would rage, court heard.
When her then-boyfriend arrived to select her up, she informed him she had been sexually attacked, court heard. She reported the incident to police numerous hours later on. Police charged Cepic with sexual attack.
The only issue at trial was consent. OI argued she was required into fellatio and sexual intercourse. Cepic, referred to as a hard-working and credible daddy, said the lady had been a willing participant.
London-Weinstein agreed OI, stating she found the complainant trusted and trustworthy, and Cepic self-serving.
For example, the judge turned down Cepic’s evidence that OI had actually touched him sexually, saying it was unlikely the female would have done so on her first-ever lap dance. The judge also called it “completely implausible and nonsensical” that OI would have told the implicated about her boyfriend simply as he was about to climax.
London-Weinsten founded guilty Cepic and jailed him for two years less a day.
Cepic appealed, arguing the judge had depended on stereotypes and assumptions, while OI kept London-Weinstein was entitled to count on good sense assumptions about basic human behaviour.
In its analysis, the Appeal Court alerted the common-sense approach to evaluating credibility is “laden with risk,” and London-Weinstein had unfairly made assumptions about female behaviour in accepting OI’s statement and declining Cepic’s.
” The trial judge began from the assumption about what a young woman would carry out in a strip club and carried that theme throughout her analysis,” the Appeal Court said. “( Her) decisions about what ‘made no sense’ or was ‘implausible’ were blatant presumptions, unsupported by the evidence.”
The judge, the Appeal Court said, disregarded the context in which OI found herself.
” The context was considerable: a ladies’s just party in a highly sexualized environment involving alcohol and male dancers,” Justice Mary Lou Benotto said for the Appeal Court.
London-Weinstein, the greater court said, also appeared to turn to stereotypes about male hostility when she declined Cepic’s evidence that OI had come on to him and found he had benefited from a “shocked and baffled” young lady.