Judge finds man’s claim that he was sexually assaulted had an ‘air of reality’
A man who admitted head-butting another man in a bar washroom — leaving him with a broken nose and a huge gash — didn’t break the law, a St. John’s judge has ruled.
© — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
Kevin Michael Stamp was in provincial court in St. John’s Friday to hear the verdict in his assault case.
In a he-said/he-said court case, Judge Pamela Goulding found Kevin Michael Stamp’s version of what happened to be more plausible than the other side of the story.
Stamp was found not guilty of a charge of assault causing bodily harm.
The 25-year-old shook hands with his lawyer, Randy Piercey, following proceedings in provincial court in St. John’s and smiled as he left the court.
Stamp, who was not in custody, was charged following an incident Nov. 17, 2012 at Shamrock City
on Water Street in downtown St. John’s.
Testifying in the trial a few weeks ago, the complainant said he was in the washroom when Stamp walked in, suddenly grabbed him by the shoulders and head-butted him.
He suffered a broken nose and a head laceration that required eight stitches.
He said he had never met Stamp before and couldn’t understand why he did it.
Stamp said he had every reason to do what he did because the man had sexually assaulted him.
Stamp said he was at the urinal when the man told him he would like to see him with his pants off. He said the man then reached around and touched his penis.
Stamp said he head-butted him in retaliation and self-defence to get him out of the way in the close confines of the small room.
Piercey had argued that the amount of force Stamp used was necessary under the circumstances and that the head-butt was an understandable reaction to being sexually assaulted.
Crown prosecutor Danny Vavasour suggested Stamp fabricated the story about being sexually assaulted, and, if the man did sexually assault him, Vavasour argued, head-butting was an excessive reaction.
But Goulding said Stamp’s story was believable.
“I am satisfied that Stamp, in this case, has established an air of reality that he was sexually assaulted while in the bathroom, that he felt threatened and acted in an instinctive manner in assaulting (the man) as he did,” she said.
“(The complainant’s) explanation that he was assaulted, in the manner he described, by someone he had never met before is highly unusual and perhaps even bizarre.”
She said she found it difficult to believe that Stamp assaulted a stranger for no reason.
And she agreed that Stamp was in such close proximity to the man that his reaction was understandable.
“I find that Stamp’s belief was objectively reasonable that there was a reasonable apprehension of harm,” Goulding said.
“I accept that Stamp acted instinctively in that he reacted swiftly to repel the assault.”
The judge also said she could not draw any negative inference from Stamp’s failure to return a call to the police until six weeks later. Even then, the judge said, the officers did not tell him what the allegations were.
Goulding also did not draw any conclusions from the fact that Stamp did not report the alleged sexual assault to police.
“There are a myriad of reasons why people who are victims of crime choose not to report them (to police), even though their acquaintances may have some knowledge of the circumstances,” she said.