March 4th, 2024

Defence lawyer questions woman’s memory of alleged sexual assault at Calgary trial

By The Canadian Press on January 22, 2024.

Doors from the original courthouse at the entrance to the Calgary Courts Centre in Calgary on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – A defence lawyer for the man accused of sexually assaulting seven women in Calgary has challenged a woman’s memory of what happened on the day of her alleged attack.

The woman, who can’t be identified because of a publication ban, has testified that she went with the man to a rural property in April 2022 when he offered her construction work as she was trying to leave the sex trade.

When they got there, she has alleged he tried to take her pants down but she fought back and was able to get away.

Richard Robert Mantha, who is 59, faces 20 charges that include kidnapping, threats causing bodily harm, sexual assault with a weapon and administering a noxious substance.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

One of Mantha’s lawyers asked the woman, who’s the Crown’s first witness, about the amount of time that has passed since April 2022.

The woman said she doesn’t recall every detail about that day, but there are “solid things that I do remember.”

Lawyer Andre Ouellette then suggested there are certain things she remembers and others she doesn’t.

“Some things stand out, is that correct?” he asked the woman.

“Yes,” she responded.

Ouellette then asked the woman about whether her drug use could have affected her memory.

The woman, who has said she’s been sober for 18 months, said drug use can contribute to memory loss but added “in this case, it does not.”

The trial, which is scheduled to run until Feb. 9, continues with the cross-examination of the witness Monday afternoon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2024.

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