Trial underway for Toronto man who pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting Ryerson student

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By Raneem Alozzi and Maggie Macintosh

The trial of a 22-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting a Ryerson student and live-streaming a video of her naked is underway, after the accused pleaded not guilty earlier this week.

Patrick Walsh of Toronto faces charges of sexual assault and publishing an intimate image without consent.

The Crown opened the trial against Walsh at the Superior Court of Justice this week. The complainant, whose name is protected under a publication ban, gave her testimony to the jury Sept. 13. The plaintiff was a Ryerson student at the time of the incident, but it is unclear if she still attending the school.

On Sept. 14, defence attorney Zachary Kerbel cross-examined the complainant about her account of the incident. The woman was squeezing a purple stress ball throughout the day.

One day earlier, the woman testified she was sexually assaulted after she and Walsh left Grace O’Malley’s pub on Duncan Street on May 16, 2016. That night, she alleged Walsh approached her in the pub and said they had met at a party earlier that year, according to the Toronto Star.

After a few drinks, the complainant said she was feeling intoxicated and agreed to step outside with the tall, fair-haired man, where she said they kissed in the street consensually.

The accused then suggested they walk to his mother’s nearby apartment. The woman, who was 19, said she expected his friends would be there.

When they arrived at the apartment, the complainant said she was “caught off guard” when she realized no one else was home. They then went into the bedroom and started kissing again, where she said things escalated quickly.

She told the court she was then forced to perform oral sex. Shocked after the act, she said she lay stiff in “panic mode,” at which point she said the accused got on top of her and sexually assaulted her.

The woman recalled she said “no” three times during the act, but the accused continued and told her, “It’s fine.”

“I knew he heard what I said and he understood and his reply [implied] that this would continue regardless,” she said, when interrogated by the defence attorney Friday about the account she gave the day before.

In her testimony, she said she felt sick after she was sexually assaulted because of her severe anxiety and rushed to the bathroom to vomit afterwards. That’s when she said Walsh took out his phone and started filming her vomiting into the toilet, naked. She recalled hearing the iPhone Facetime App chime.

Although the woman could not recall the exact conversation, she said she heard Walsh and someone on the other end of the call laughing and knew the gist of the conversation surrounded “making of fun of me.”

Walsh’s friends arrived a short time later, she said. After repeatedly asking someone to call an ambulance, one of them gave her his shirt and helped get her home in a cab, as reported by the Star.

When Kerbel questioned the woman about how she knew they were making fun of her since she couldn’t remember exact conversation details during the cross-examination, she broke down in tears. Ontario Superior Court of Justice Kelly Byrne called for a recess and permitted the witness to step out and take a break.

The day after the incident, the complainant said she retraced her steps from the night before to retrieve her cellphone. After visiting “20, more or less” buildings, she recognized Walsh’s lobby and then called police.

Throughout the cross-examination, the defence attorney compared the complainant’s testimony to her preliminary testimony.

Kerbel’s interrogation included questions about the number of buildings the complainant checked before she found the correct lobby, her expectations when going to the apartment with him, what Walsh said during the Facetime conversation and whether or not she texted herself using Walsh’s phone at the pub.

Kerbel said in court Sept. 14 that in the woman’s preliminary testimony, the complainant failed to report that she was forced to perform oral sex. The complainant said she did not think that it merited as much attention as the incident that followed because she didn’t verbally object. It wasn’t until more than two years later that she realized that both incidents were assault, she said.

She also acknowledged the inconsistencies between transcripts, citing “nerves and trauma.” During the cross-examination, she said she was not always in the right mindset when reporting chronology to authorities.

The trial will resume Sept. 17 in front of Justice Byrne and is expected to last for two weeks.

If found guilty of both charges, the accused could face up to 15 years in prison.

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