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U of T instructor will not testify in own sex assault trial

A University of Toronto instructor accused of sexual assault will not take the stand in his own defence as his trial moves toward a conclusion.

James Andrew Payne, 55, who is usually called Andy, is a senior lecturer in U of T's faculty of architecture and design. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman, aged 21 at the time, in her west-end Toronto apartment in December, 2011.

Dr. Payne's trial resumed briefly on Tuesday. His lawyer, Steven Stauffer, had planned to seek a directed verdict dismissing the charges from Justice Geraldine Sparrow, but did not pursue it.

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Instead, the case will go directly to final arguments on April 25, when Mr. Stauffer will argue the court "can't rely on what [the alleged victim] said."

"As we read the transcripts [from the trial], we became more confident in our case," Mr. Stauffer said. "We solidified our confidence."

Earlier in the trial, Mr. Stauffer repeatedly grilled the alleged victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban and who has no connection to U of T. He focused on apparent inconsistencies in her account of her Dec. 11 encounter with Dr. Payne, including how he had managed to undress her. She occasionally broke into tears, and conceded her statement to police was "a little scattered," but said she was traumatized. She maintains she did not consent and Dr. Payne assaulted her.

According to her testimony, she met Dr. Payne on the sidewalk outside her apartment as she returned home late on Dec. 10, after being out with friends. She told the court she had been drinking. She recognized Dr. Payne, as they had mutual acquaintances, but said she did not know him. She claimed he followed her uninvited into her bedroom in her second-floor apartment, forcefully removed her clothes, groped and kissed her as she begged him to stop and pounded him with her fists.

Dr. Payne agrees the two had an encounter, but denies he assaulted her. Swabs taken from the complainant's breasts match his DNA.

Administrators at U of T only learned of the charges against Dr. Payne on Aug. 14 of last year. He had continued teaching in the interim. On Aug. 20, he was arrested on a separate count of sexual assault after a second alleged victim came forward. A preliminary hearing into that alleged assault is scheduled for July 11. A university spokesperson has said Dr. Payne agreed to stop teaching until further notice.

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