Former RCMP spokesperson Tim Shields. (File photo)

Former RCMP spokesperson Tim Shields. (File photo)

UPDATED: Ex-Mountie Tim Shields’ defence alleges flirtatious relationship led to sex in bathroom

Defence calls complainant “a fraud, a liar, a perjurer”

The defence for ex-Mountie Tim Shields asserted during closing arguments in court Tuesday that Shields’ sexual encounter with a complainant was consensual and not an abuse of trust and authority.

The trial, which has gone on for intermittent weeks at provincial court in Vancouver since June 7, involves an alleged sexual assault in the former RCMP headquarters in Vancouver in the fall of 2009.

Shields was originally suspended without pay by the RCMP in May 2015 and charged with one count of sexual assault in May 2016.

At the time, Shields was the RCMP E Division spokesperson, and the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was a senior communications strategist.

Both Crown and defence lawyer David Butcher agree that the sexual encounter occurred in an unisex bathroom on the main floor of the building on Heather Street in Vancouver.

They do differ on the date; the complainant alleged the assault happened in the fall of 2009, while Shields specifies April 29, 2009, as the date of the consensual sexual encounter.

“The interaction involved kissing, touching of [the complainant’s] breasts and rubbing of Mr. Shields’ exposed penis,” said Butcher.

Where they differed was in their clients’ recollection of the incident.

In both Butcher’s closing arguments and Shields’ earlier testimony, the defence painted the sexual encounter as initiated by the complainant.

Citing Shields’ testimony, Butcher told the court that the complainant had walked into Shields’ office, placed her hands on his chest and pushed him into a corner.

A long hug, “more sensual” than the ones the two usually shared, followed.

“It involved her hands rubbing up and down on his back,” said Butcher, noting that his client reciprocated. “Her breathing was audible and she had started soft, very quiet moaning noises through her nose.

“She said ‘you feel so good.’”

After a conversation that turned sexual, the complainant then asked Shields to walk her to her car, Butcher told the court.

He alleged the duo walked down the main stairs and, as they did, the complainant told Shields, “I never got my hug.”

Reading from court transcripts, Butcher laid out the alleged conversation that led to the sexual encounter in a unisex bathroom.

“I know. I never got my hug either,” Shields allegedly told the complainant. “I know where we can be alone without any interruptions.”

According to Butcher, the complainant proved eager and Shields led her to the unisex bathroom – the place where the sexual encounter occurred and where the defence and Crown version of events differed.

Shields described the encounter as consensual; so consensual that he did not feel any need to ask the complainant if everything was okay.

In earlier testimony, the complainant had told the court she had felt “scared, panicky, kind of surreal… it was weird and scary.”

Butcher told the judge that the complainant’s version of events “made no sense.”

“There is no place or time where is a sexual assault is less likely to occur than on the main floor of a police station,” he said.

Abuse of power

Butcher argued that not only was the encounter consensual, but that Shields held no position of “traditional direct authority” over the complainant.

Both Crown and defence have stated that the complainant worked on the headquarters-relocation project, which involved moving RCMP headquarters from Heather Street to Green Timbers in Surrey. However, they differ on just how involved the complainant was in the department that Shields headed: the strategic communications division.

Butcher repeatedly referred to the RCMP’s organizational chart, which showed an indirect reporting relationship between the two.

Crown counsel Michelle Booker has stated that the chart, as well as a performance review for the complainant filled out by Shields, establishes a direct reporting relationship.

Butcher denied that, pointing to Shields’ testimony that any reference to him as the complainant’s supervisor was in error.

When the judge told him that the definition of abusable position of authority was rather more broad than that, Butcher responded that if “an indirect, very loose, person-in-authority relationship… might be found to exist,” then that should only be a minor factor in considering the case.

Credibility of the complainant

Butcher refuted any allegations of assault, calling the complainant “a fraud, a liar, a perjurer” and characterizing her claim of sexual assault as an “after the fact confabulation,” arrived at with the help of lawyers, a psychiatrist and her husband.

The complainant, despite describing herself as financially self-sufficient, had filed for bankruptcy when she was 30, Butcher told the court.. Her husband, who she began seeing in 2o12, had a businesses in financial peril.

He reminded the judge of Crown’s inability to establish a concrete date for a sexual encounter, while pointing to Shields’ ability to recall one.

Butcher pointed to several of what he described as weaknesses in the complainant’s case; her delay in filing a police report, her past financial troubles, her friendly demeanour towards Shields post-bathroom incident and a civil claim that she filed prior to speaking with police.

He was careful to repeatedly point out that although each reason alone could be considered as contributing to the “myth and stereotype” of how sexual assault victims should or should not react, that altogether, they helped paint a picture of a complainant who was more interested in the success of her civil suit than in helping police investigate the criminal case.

The complainant filed that civil suit against Shields in July 2014, approximately five years after the bathroom incident.

That claim was settled out of court in December 2016; Butcher asked for the contents of the settlement to be shown in court but Crown objected, successfully, to the reveal.

Butcher drew on multiple friendly email exchanges between the Shields and the complainant.

In some, she called Shields “a gift,” in others, she complimented his leadership at the RCMP.

When the judge pointed out that those could just be the actions of a woman trying to keep her job by being complimentary towards a superior, Butcher told him that this was the sign of a “dishonest and manipulative” person, focused on “her own advancement.”

Reading from court transcripts, Butcher reminded the judge that during Shields’ own testimony, he had admitted to hearing a ‘no’ from the complainant.

“He admits that there was a point in the encounter when [the complainant] said no when he reached to unzip her pants,” said Butcher. “There is evidence that he made further attempt to touch that part of [the complainant’s] body.”

Butche called it a “candid” admission that was clearly “not self serving,” telling the judge that it should stand as a point in favour of Shields’ credibility of a witness.

Closing arguments are expected to wrap up this week.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

The Compost Education Centre is hosting its annual spring plant sale on May 8 at 1216 North Park St. Physical distancing protocols will be in effect during the sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Black Press Media file photo)
This weekend: Tenth annual spring plant sale hosted by Victoria Compost Education Centre

The non-profit event Saturday, May 8 will feature numerous varieties of plants, live music

Saanich police detectives are investigating a reported sexual assault that occurred near Glanford Park on the evening of Dec. 29, 2020 and have shared an artist’s rendering of the individual. (Image via Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Saanich police release sketch of suspect sought in December sexual assault

Anyone with information asked to contact detectives, Crime Stoppers

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read