Fondling conviction overturned

A judge has quashed a sexual assault conviction against a McDonald’s employee who allegedly fondled a 28-year-old man in the restaurant’s washroom more than two years ago.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Jacqueline Coutu then ordered a new trial Friday for the accused, 27, after ruling the provincial court judge failed to give reasons why she chose the complainant’s version over that of the accused.

“This case came down to credibility,” said Coutu, “but there was no analysis of contradictory evidence or reasons for findings of credibility. This is a case where reasons for contradictions cry out for answers.”

The accused was charged after the complainant said he was fondled and had sexually lewd comments made toward him by a man wearing a McDonald’s uniform as he was leaving the washroom at the restaurant at 222 8th Ave. S.W. on Feb. 4, 2003.

He was convicted a year ago today and handed a four-month conditional sentence to be served in the community, plus two years probation.

The complainant’s name cannot be reported because of a court order.

“My client has professed his innocence since Day 1 and is very relieved to have this conviction overturned,” The accused lawyer Pat Fagan said outside court.

Crown prosecutor Shirley Jackson had argued the trial judge clearly rejected the accused’s testimony and the conviction should stand.

The case will be back in provincial court on March 30 to set a new date.

The Crown’s office is expected to decide in the interim if it will pursue a new trial.