Former RCMP spokesperson Tim Shields. (File photo)

UPDATE: Tim Shields’ defence suggests ‘bathroom incident’ was consensual

Worker says she was told by RCMP adviser she would be labelled troublemaker if she complained

Tim Shields’ defence lawyer spent Wednesday afternoon intimating that a bathroom incident between his client and the complainant was consensual.

David Butcher suggested to the complainant that she had been an “enthusiastic” and “voluntary” participant in what she had called an non-consensual sexual assault in an RCMP E Division bathroom in fall 2009.

Shields, a former RCMP officer in charge of the strategic communications branch of E Division, is on trial for one count of sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge in a case that the Crown has characterized as “about a woman who was sexually assaulted at work by one of her supervisors.”

During testimony Tuesday, the complainant – who can’t be identified due to a publication ban – had described a situation in which Shields took her to the bathroom, locked the door and attempted to have sex with her.

Butcher has refuted that characterization.

“You were kissing and fondling each other voluntarily and enthusiastically,” he suggested to the complainant.

“No,” she replied.

When Butcher said it was the complainant who had exposed Shields and performed oral sex on him, she in turn denied it and told him that if that had happened, she had been forced to do so.

READ: Ex-RCMP officer Tim Shields’ trial hears from alleged victim

Speaking about events in the lead-up to the alleged assault, the complainant testified Tuesday that Shields had told her he was sexually attracted to her, encouraged her to wear low cut tops and told her he wanted to perform oral sex on her.

Wednesday afternoon, Butcher asked why the complainant had followed Shields to the washroom if she was alleging that Shields had made prior unwelcome sexual comments.

“This is my superior. This is someone I report to, and he said he had something to tell me,” the complainant said, adding that she would have followed other people she viewed as her supervisors.

“What I know for sure is I was not invited to go into the bathroom for sex.”

The complainant told Butcher that although she typically had work-related conversations with her superiors in their offices, she said that she had “trusting” relationships in the workplace.

“That something like this would happen in E Division headquarters is not something I would have expected.”

READ: Complainant describes details of ex-RCMP Tim Shields’ alleged sexual assault

Questioned by the prosecutor earlier today, the complainant told the court that prior to the alleged incident, she had told Greg Dobrowolski, a retired RCMP member advising on the Green Timber relocation project, that she had been having difficulties with a colleague. She did not specify that this colleague was Shields.

According to the complainant, she was advised to speak with the colleague and try to resolve the issue that way.

“He recommended I try to resolve this directly with the individual because I would be seen as a troublemaker,” she told the court Wednesday morning.

She added that she did speak to Shields.

“I went to Mr. Shields and explained that I was uncomfortable,” she said, noting that Shields’ response was: “That’s OK, nothing happened anyway.”

Butcher asked why she continued sending emails that indicated a relationship untarnished by an assault, if the complainant’s chronology was correct and Shields had in fact assaulted her in fall 2009.

“Emails written within a month of the disgusting scary incident,” Butcher characterized them as.

The complainant told Butcher that as Shields was her superior, she was trying to avoid disrupting their working relationship.

The defence asked why she called Shields a “gift” and a “gem” in emails in 2011, as well as calling him, and two other superiors, “superb leaders” in 2010 emails.

“I said it about a lot of people,” she told Butcher. “These are people I report to. This is my job security.”

Butcher is expected to continue cross examining the complainant Friday.

The trial, which began on June 7, was originally scheduled to last for three weeks at provincial court in Vancouver. The trial has been extended and is to continue next week.

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