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Woman granted conditional discharge after false accusations of sexual assault

A young Langford woman who made detailed false allegations about a sexual assault has been granted a conditional discharge and ordered to perform 50 hours of community work service.
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A young Langford woman who made detailed false allegations about a sexual assault has been granted a conditional discharge and ordered to perform 50 hours of community work service.

Annaca Kobayashi, 19, pleaded guilty to public mischief Wednesday, admitting that she gave three false statements to investigators at West Shore RCMP between May 22 and June 11, 2020. Crown prosecutor Steve Salmond told the court that Kobayashi went to the detachment with her parents on the night of May 22, 2020. She told police she had been at the Home Depot parking lot at 9 p.m. on May 19 when a young man she knew jumped in the passenger seat of her car.

Kobayashi said the man tried to convince her to hang out with him instead of her boyfriend. When she said no, he pulled out a knife, forced her to his home and sexually assaulted her.

Investigators went to Home Depot and obtained surveillance video from the parking lot. The video showed Kobayashi approaching her car, but no one else was there, said Salmond.

On May 26, the investigator called her and Kobayashi admitted she had made up the part about the knife. She said she had gone to the man’s home voluntarily but insisted he had sexually assaulted her, said Salmond.

Police warned her about the charge of public mischief and told her investigators would be trying to corroborate her second version of events. Kobayashi said she understood.

Police asked the man to come in and give a statement. He told police he had consensual sex with Kobayashi and provided additional details that contradicted her version of events, said Salmond.

During a third interview with police on June 11, Kobayashi admitted she made the whole thing up.

Police pursued a charge of public mischief because of the impact on the young man and the waste of police resources, said Salmond. He asked for a suspended sentence and community work service as repayment for the effort and resources that went into the investigation.

Defence lawyer Elizabeth Weisenburger emphasized Kobayashi’s youth and guilty plea. Kobayashi acknowledges she had a sexual relationship with the man, “but there were some issues around whether it was consensual,” said Weisenburger.

Kobayashi did not think her story, “with the murkiness of the consent,” would be believed, said the defence lawyer. “She is very young, very inexperienced and she amplified her story because she believed that was what was required in order to be believed. She completely understands this was a huge mistake that has had a significant impact on her life already. It’s been quite a process for her and very eye-opening already, going through the criminal justice system.”

Weisenburger asked the court to grant a conditional discharge to give Kobayashi “a better chance at a fresh start” and to allow her to pursue a career in health care.

Kobayashi is in counselling, and her community work service must be completed by Dec. 1.

False accusations about sexual assault are rare. One U.K. study found that actual malicious reports were about three per cent. Teenage girls represented a large number of those deemed to have deliberately made false reports of sexual assault, often to cover up behaviour that would have gotten them into trouble, such as missing a curfew or skipping school, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

ldickson@timescolonist.com