A woman in court Friday said she would rather go to jail than testify in the trial of the man accused of sexually assaulting her.
“I’m done,” the woman said, throwing her hands in the air as she prepared to step down from the witness stand at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s.
Terry Hunt was in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday for the start of his trial on charges of sexual assault, assault and unlawful confinement against his girlfriend.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
“If you want to take me to jail, take me to jail, but I’m not saying anything else.
“No disrespect to you, Your Honour,” she added, turning to Justice Robert Hall.
She then left the stand and walked to the back of the courtroom to sit down.
The woman — whose name is protected by a publication ban — is a key witness in the case against Terry Hunt.
Hunt, 50, faces charges of sexual assault, assault and forcible confinement.
He was charged as a result of an incident that was said to have happened on June 17, 2012, when the two were in a relationship.
The woman told police Hunt had attacked her. A police officer had testified in court that one side of the woman’s face was red and that she was wearing clothes that weren’t hers since she had left the house wrapped in a towel.
But when Hunt’s trial began on March 27, she was a no-show.
Crown prosecutor Jeff Summers told the judge at that time that the woman had written a letter indicating she did not want to continue with the process.
When the case resumed March 31, the woman was there, but indicated she did not want to testify. The case broke to allow lawyers time to figure out their next move.
On Friday, the woman showed up but was even more adamant about not testifying.
“I’m not speaking today. I have nothing to say,” said the woman, who expressed concern about reporters being in the courtroom.
Hall declared her an adverse witness, which under the Canada Evidence Act means the Crown can cross-examine its own witness.
But she refused to answer any of Summers’ questions, only to accuse him of lying to her.
“I told him I didn’t want to testify and he told me that was my right. …He admitted he said that,” she said. “How can a man of the court lie? Where’s the justice?”
At one point, when Summers asked her about her previous statement to police, she made a gesture as if zipping her mouth shut.
Defence lawyer Tony St. George managed to get some response.
St. George: “Are you able to testify or you don’t want to?”
Women: “I don’t want to. I have that right.”
St. George: “Do you have any health issues?”
St. George: “Do you have any issues with your memory?”
Woman: “Are you kidding me? I’ve got so much going on in my past, back from when I was three years old. I get flashbacks.”
When St. George asked her if she was under the influence of any medications, she replied, “Just cigarettes.”
While the judge could have ordered the woman be taken into custody for refusing to testify, Summers opted to pursue an application he filed to have both her testimony from the preliminary inquiry last spring and her statement to police after the incident entered into evidence.
The case will resume May 5, at which time the judge is expected to rule on the applications.
Hunt had been released from jail shortly after his arrest. However, he was taken back into custody last week for reportedly breaching the conditions of his release.