RNC Const. Carl Douglas Snelgrove speaks to his lawyer, Randy Piercey, during a break in his sexual assault trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Thursday.
©Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram
She said she was so drunk after a night of partying at a downtown bar, she hitched a ride home with an RNC officer in a police car.
“In the state I was in, I figured it’d be safer to go with a police officer than a taxi,” she said, recalling what happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2014.
But it turned out to be trouble, with the woman later reporting that the officer had anal sex with her that night, when she was too inebriated to know what was going on.
Const. Carl Douglas Snelgrove was arrested and faces a charge of sexual assault.
The woman — whose name is banned from publication — was the first to take the stand in his trial Thursday at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
The 23-year-old told the jury that on the night of Dec. 20, 2014, she had consumed five bottles of coolers at a friend’s house and was slightly intoxicated when she and the group went to Velvet bar on Water Street at 12:30 a.m.
She couldn’t remember if she was drinking downtown, but figured she was, judging by her high level of intoxication when she decided to leave the bar alone at 2:30 a.m.
“I felt like I was too drunk to still be out, so I went to get a cab,” said the woman, who didn’t tell friends she was leaving.
She said when walked down Water Street, she approached a police car that was parked not far down Water Street. She said the officer, whom she had never met before, put down the window to speak to her and then offered to drive her home. She said he told her that she couldn’t get in the front passenger seat, and got out to let her in the back.
He drove her to her east-end basement apartment, she said. She didn’t recall what they spoke about on the way there.
When they arrived, she said, she couldn’t find her keys to get in, so she called a friend, but she couldn’t remember doing that until the next day when she saw the called number in her cellphone.
The woman said she opened a side window to get into her apartment — something again she didn’t remember doing until she saw her footprint on the kitchen counter the next day. Once inside, she said, she let the officer in the door.
“He said he wanted to make sure I was OK,” she said.
She said she was too drunk to stand up, so she sat down on the love seat in the living room.
“The next thing I recall was I had no clothes on and he was having sex with me, anal sex,” she said.
“He had my legs on his shoulders.”
The woman said she had been passed out and came to again when he spoke to her when he was finished. She said she saw him walk to the bathroom and fix his police uniform. She said she doesn’t remember when he left and later said she doesn’t know how she ended up in her bed, where she woke up the next day.
She said she was sore in her anal area for about a week and also had severe chafing on the inside of her thighs.
In the agreed statement of facts, AVL records indicated Snelgrove’s patrol car was at the address of the woman’s apartment between 3:18 a.m. and 3:37 a.m. that night. There was no communication with RNC dispatch during that time. DNA samples taken from stains on the love seat also matched Snelgrove’s DNA.
The woman said she couldn’t recall if she consented to having sex with him and admitted she would not be able to recognize him, except to say he was taller than she is, had short hair and looked to be in his early 30s.
When Crown prosecutor Lloyd Strickland asked her why she didn’t report the incident to police immediately, she replied, “I figured there would be no point because he was a police officer and I was drunk.”
She came forward a month later after some coaxing from a friend and also as a result of an incident in January 2015, when she got a cab home with a man she met at Breakers bar. She said when the cab dropped them off at his place, she began to walk home, but he followed her, prompting her to call 911. When a female officer arrived, she said, she also told her about being sexually assaulted by a police officer the month before.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Randy Piercey pointed out she was sober enough to leave the bar and know where to go to look for a cab, then carry on a conversation with the officer, giving him directions to her place and then climbing in the window, which he noted wouldn’t be an easy thing to do.
She also admitted that when she couldn’t find her keys, the officer offered to drive her to a friend’s house.
The woman replied, “I can’t recall,” to most of the questions Piercey asked her, including whether the officer had offered to drive her home or if she had asked him, if she flirted with him, if they kissed in her apartment, if she consented to sex and if she had been conscious the whole time.
She did remember, though, that the officer did not use force with her.
Piercey then asked her about hiring a lawyer, “who specializes in suing people for sexual assault” and who had put out a news release regarding the incident, referring to St. John’s defence lawyer Lynn Moore.
“You haven’t sued yet?” Piercey asked.
“No,” she replied.
“Because you’re waiting for the outcome of this (trial)?” Piercey said.
“Yes,” she said.
Testimony continues Friday afternoon.