Sexual interference trial continues

Accused denies any sexual contact in Western Communities Courthouse

James Derek French denied any sexual intentions towards a 14-year-old girl as he defended himself against allegations of sexual assault and sexual interference of a minor in Western Communities Courthouse, on Monday.

The trial picked up from where it left off on Aug. 29, when Crown counsel had its opportunity to call witnesses. At that time the alleged victim, who can’t be identified because of her age, testified French made sexual advances on her after she became ill from drinking alcohol with French’s son and other friends at French’s Langford home.

Defence lawyer Tom Morino called French to the stand. French denied any sexual intentions towards the girl, stating after she was left to sleep in his bed he only checked on her a few times to see if she was OK.

He said he did kiss her on the cheek and at one point propped himself up on the bed next to her with his arm around her, but said he did so only to comfort her. He said as soon as she told him to stop he did and left her alone in the room.

Crown counsellor Steve Salmond accused French of “grooming” the girl, meaning he acted this way to gauge her reaction and determine how far he could go.

“I’m not that kind of guy,” French said.

French expressed frustration throughout the cross examination. French denied much of the girl’s earlier testimony, including her claim that at one point he tried to remove her shorts.

Another witness, who can’t be identified due to a publication ban, said he, not French, visited the girl after everyone else had gone to bed, and did rub her back for about two minutes.

The witness said nothing more happened.

 

The trial will continue at a later date, expected to be decided in court today, when both sides will present their final submissions.