Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Kelowna Law Courts. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

Central Okanagan man accused of sexual assault found not guilty due to alibi

Justice Dennis Hori determined a reasonable doubt in the Crown’s case against Robert Copeland

A Lake Country man accused of sexual assault has been found not guilty due to reasonable doubt cast by his alibi.

Robert Copeland was accused of raping a woman who he was helping with home renovations in March 2017. The Capital News has chosen not to name the complainant due to the sensitive nature of the accusation.

Copeland appeared in person in Supreme Court in Kelowna on Tuesday morning for Justice Dennis Hori’s decision.

According to Copeland, he could not have committed the crime in question as he was at his place of business at the time the complainant alleged the assault occurred. He has records of when the building’s security alarms were set, showing nobody entered or left the building throughout the night. Copeland also claims to have spoken to a security guard outside, who confirmed his presence.

For Justice Hori, this was determined to be a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of Copeland.

The complainant claimed a different series of events.

After finishing work on the house for the day on March 5, 2017, both Copeland and the woman went to bed separately.

She woke up to find him in her room, where she alleges she was raped by Copeland.

She claims Copeland continued to pressure her, including offering to pay her rent in exchange for sex.

The woman had attempted to gather evidence of this by recording conversations between her and Copeland but the quality of the recordings made the discussions hard to decipher, according to Hori.

“It is a fundamental principle of criminal law in Canada that an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty,” said Hori. “The Crown has failed to fulfil its burden to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.”

READ MORE: ‘Deeply sorry’: Former West Kelowna teacher offers emotional apology to student he sexually exploited

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@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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