Glenda Mercer noticed an unusual injury on a woman who came to her seeking assistance in August 2011, the counsellor testified Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court.
“I noted on the heel of her hand — an odd place which attracted my attention — that there was a round, black, deep-looking mark. It was very red and puffy and appeared fresh,” Mercer said. “I remember thinking it looked like a cigarette.”
Murray Dale Leon Sam is on trial in B.C. Supreme Court for sexual assault, breaking and entering to commit an indictable offence and assault with a weapon — a cigarette.
The woman, whose identity is protected by a court order, seemed embarrassed and uncomfortable when she came to see her on Aug. 17, 2011, Mercer testified.
“She was shaking quite a bit, shaking a lot. She had tears she would wipe away. She did not turn her chair toward me, but looked out the window,” Mercer recalled.
The counsellor said she also noticed scrape wounds on the woman’s knuckles. After they talked, Mercer drove the woman to a clinic, but it was closed. The next day, Mercer took her to a walk-in clinic, then drove her to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital for tests.
Later that day, Mercer drove the woman to a safe house. On Aug. 19, Mercer accompanied the woman to the West Shore RCMP and was present during a police interview, she testified.
Also on Wednesday, defence lawyer Richard Schwartz continued his cross-examination of the alleged victim. As she answered his questions, the woman shielded her face from Sam’s view with her arm and her hand.
Schwartz suggested the two had a pattern of drinking late at night. He suggested that on Aug. 13, 2011, the woman led Sam to the master bedroom, took off her clothes, and told Sam to lock the door before they had consensual sexual intercourse.
“No, no, no, no, no,” the woman denied each suggestion.
Schwartz also suggested there never was a lit cigarette.
“He had a cigarette in his hand,” the woman replied, wiping away tears.
Earlier, the woman testified that she’d had a brief relationship with Sam but it had been over for about a month when he appeared in her living room in the early morning of Aug. 13, 2011. She jumped up, asked him what he was doing there and told him she didn’t want him there, she said.
Sam started pushing and grabbing at her, she testified. He pushed her into the wall because she was trying to use her phone. Sam pushed her again, and she fell down, she testified. Then Sam dragged and kicked her down the hallway and threw her on the bed. She testified that Sam threatened to put out a lit cigarette on her face, but she managed to get her hand in the way.
This morning, court will listen to the alleged victim’s evidence again. Schwartz is expected to enter a no-evidence motion on the charges of assault with a weapon and break and enter.
“I believe she did not testify that he burned her with the cigarette, but she put her hand up, and in the course of doing that, her palm was burned,” Schwartz said. “I believe there’s no evidence he used the cigarette to assault her.”
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