Skip to main content

In this artist’s sketch, lawyer Joanne Mulcahy, left, questions Det.- Sgt. Jeffrey Attenborough, right, in front of Justice Anne Molloy at the sexual-assault trial for Toronto police officers (bottom, left to right) Joshua Cabero, Sameer Kara and Leslie Nyznik in Toronto on June 5, 2017.

Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press

A defence lawyer for one of three Toronto police officers accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague suggested on Friday that the woman made up the sexual assault allegations because she feared her reputation would be ruined if word of her having sex with the men got out.

The woman — a female parking enforcement officer who cannot be named due to a publication ban — denied the lawyer's allegations during cross-examination.

She has testified that the officers — Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara — had sex with her without her consent in a downtown hotel room between 12:20 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2015 after a night of partying and drinking.

Story continues below advertisement

The accused have all pleaded not guilty to the sex assault charges.

Nyznik's defence lawyer, Harry Black, said the woman created a false narrative that was aided by her web searches about date rape drugs on her phone while at the hospital waiting to speak with a sexual assault nurse.

"You never told police while you were at the hospital waiting that you researched date rape drugs, did you?" Black asked.

"I didn't know it was relevant," the woman said of the search history obtained by the defence.

She testified Thursday that she believes she was drugged at some point during that night, but doesn't know when, where, how or by whom. She previously told the judge-alone trial that she felt powerless and unable to move or speak when the three officers forced themselves on her.

Black said she made up those details after reading about the fallout from taking a date rape drug.

The complainant denied that allegation.

Story continues below advertisement

Black seized on what he called inconsistencies between the woman's testimony earlier this week and statements she gave to police two years ago.

In one instance, Black referred to testimony the woman gave on Wednesday when she said she was fearful for her life if word got out about the alleged sexual assault because the officers "carried firearms."

Court heard she waited nine days until she broke down just before her next shift at work, which is when detectives began investigating.

"After the cat was out of the bag, why didn't you mention your safety concerns then?" Black asked.

"I did not trust them," she said.

The woman said some of the new revelations, many of which are finer details about the night in question, occurred because she was in crisis at the time of the original statements to police.

Story continues below advertisement

"I'm suggesting to you that what happened on the early morning hours of Jan. 17 was that you got into a panic, filled with regret about what you had done and in a panic about what was going to happen to your reputation if word got out you had intercourse with three officers," Black said to the woman.

"I did not," she said.

"You felt you could possibly lose your job, didn't you?" Black continued.

"I feared losing my job over reporting this," she said.

"I'm suggesting in the morning you started creating a narrative that would render you blameless for anything that happened in that room," Black said.

"I disagree," she said.

Story continues below advertisement

She has also said that her memory became spotty after she arrived at the hotel with two of the accused officers with the intention of dragging the third — who had become sick earlier in the night — out of bed to go to another bar.

The woman has testified that Nyznik forced her to have oral sex and has said all three officers ended up having non-consensual intercourse with her.

The woman, however, admitted lying to her friends in text messages she sent the next day. She said she was trying to prevent any information about the incident from getting out and was also "processing" what happened the previous night.

"I'm going to suggest this is all a lie," Black said to the complainant.

"Is there a question?" she asked.

"Is it all a lie?" Black said.

Story continues below advertisement

"No, I disagree," she said.

On Thursday, Black grilled the woman on the clothing she wore on the night of the alleged incident, saying she chose to don a "really low-cut top" to get attention from the officers at the party — an allegation the woman denied.

Before the lunch break on Friday, Black attempted to introduce a series of "sexually explicit" text messages between the woman and a fourth officer who was out that night.

Justice Anne Molloy agreed to allowing some of the texts in as evidence, but characterized them as nothing more than "flirtatious bantering."

Then the judge laid into Black.

"This is walking straight into the stereotypes and rape myths of how a woman is going to behave and that is not appropriate," Molloy said.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies