A reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt will not see the inside of a court room. BC Prosecution Services confirmed it is not moving ahead with charges. (BlackPress file photo)

No charges laid in reported sexual assault at Canadian Forces Base on Vancouver Island

Reporting sexual assault hugely important, says Ending Violence B.C.

The case of an alleged sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt near Victoria will not be heard in court.

While investigators from the Canadian Armed Forces Military Police recommended charges, B.C.’s Crown Prosecution Service will not be pressing charges in the case of a reported sexual assault at the naval base last fall.

“After a full and careful review of all the evidence gathered by the investigative agency, the reviewing Crown was unable to conclude that the charge assessment standard had been met and no charge was approved,” said Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service.

In B.C., Crown applies a two-part test to any case brought forward. That test measures if there is a “substantial likelihood of a conviction” and if so, “whether the public interest requires a prosecution.”

McLaughlin said the first standard wasn’t met in the CFB Esquimalt case.

RELATED: Active investigation into reported sexual assault at CFB Esquimalt

Still, the fact the Oct. 5 allegation was reported at all should be commended, said Tracy Porteous, executive director at Ending Violence B.C.

“Very few survivors report sexual assault for a myriad of good reasons, from [being] worried they won’t be believed, worried they will be blamed, worried that they will be shamed…” Porteous said. “The only way that we are going to be able to decrease the amount of sexual assault that’s taking place in our society is for survivors to come forward.

And that isn’t to say that every survivor should come forward – we only want those who feel that they have the means and the confidence and the support to do so,” she added. “But I think it’s important for us to acknowledge and appreciate and respect those that do.”

Details of the case are not available since no charges were laid, but Porteous said she has a deep respect for the woman who reported.

“She came up against a hugely strong institution,” Porteous said. “She might have had all kinds of fears of retribution or not being believed … and she came forward anyways.

I hope somebody is working with the survivor and helping her understand that Crown’s decision not to go forward has nothing to do with her credibility … or the believability of her [story].”

RELATED: Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at CFB Esquimalt

In Canada, sexual assault has some of the lowest reporting rates, in part due to common knowledge that cases are frequently dropped before they can get to court.

“I think anytime a survivor comes forward and feels let down by the system that she is seeking help from has the potential to send a message to other survivors to say, ‘don’t bother,’” said Porteous. “But it’s always worth coming forward to let the system know about a dangerous person out there.

She may have done the greatest service that she could have possibly done for Canadians by coming forward.”

READ ALSO: Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

READ ALSO: Saanich man convicted of sexual assault once behind non-profit fighting ‘sexually exploitative behaviour’



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Practical fashion: Local designers make supplies for Nelson dentists

Surgical caps and gowns have been in short supply for dentists during the pandemic

Search effort underway for man missing around Slocan River

The man was reportedly swimming near Winlaw yesterday

Kootenay doctor among 82 physicians, dentists calling on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Structures not threatened by wildfires burning in the Arrow and Kootenay Lakes region

Official says more lightning-caused fires could occur in region over next 36 hours

Harrop-Procter Co-op restores Mill Lake trail

A shelter destroyed by wildfire in 2017 will also be rebuilt

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Face masks will be mandatory for customers at all Walmart locations

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Penticton homes evacuated due to wildfire northwest of city

Emergency vehicles are at the scene near Sage Mesa, evacuation centre set up in Penticton

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

Three screening officers at Vancouver airport test positive for COVID-19

The public is not believed to be at risk of exposure

Arson suspected in several wildfires lit near Kootenay town

RCMP making progress in arson investigation of Marsh Creek fires

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Most Read