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Sexual assault trial gets underway in St. John's


The trial of a 63-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl got underway in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s Monday.

A seven-man, five-woman jury was selected to hear the trial of Claude Parsons — charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a number of separate incidents in Conception Bay North in late 2015 — before the trial got underway in the afternoon.
Justice Rosalie McGrath gave instructions to the jury, reminding them of the importance of keeping an open mind while they listen to the testimony of a number of witnesses over the next five days.
The first of those witnesses, RCMP Const. Walter Pynn, took the stand Monday, saying police were first alerted to the alleged assaults by a phone call from officials with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services on Dec. 16, 2015.
Under questioning by Crown prosecutor Paul Thistle, Pynn said he visited the girl’s home and took a written statement from her in the presence of her mother.

Pynn said that the next day, he returned with another officer and took statements from other family members before heading to a nearby cabin in the woods, where at least one of the sexual assaults is alleged to have happened during a barbecue party. He took pictures of the cabin with his cellphone, and copies of those photos were entered as evidence in court.
Defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan questioned Pynn under cross-examination about why he didn’t take photos inside the cabin, or question two people said to have been present during one of the reported assaults. One of the assaults is alleged to have happened in a truck with seven people aboard.
The trial will continue Tuesday with the next witness taking the stand.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com
Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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