by Ralph Plath
Northern News Services
FORT SIMPSON (NOV 04/96) - A Supreme Court jury acquitted Fort Liard's Chief of rape charges in Fort Simpson last week.
It took the 10-man, two-woman jury an hour Thursday afternoon to find Acho Dene Kue Chief Harry Deneron not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in Fort Liard three times between 1960 and 1983.
The complainant told court that Deneron got her drunk and had intercourse with her against her will twice during the 1980s.
She also said he had intercourse with her once while serving as an RCMP auxiliary constable in Fort Liard in the 1960s.
"She went on with her life and pretended it didn't happen," defence lawyer Les Rose told court. "It was her way of coping."
"I can only ask you to imagine the courage it took her to stand up there and describe the three incidents," Rose told the court in his closing address.
"It didn't happen," Deneron told the court during cross-examination by the defence. "I've never been drunk in my life," he added.
Despite the acquittal, Deneron's legal battles are not over.
The Fort Liard chief is scheduled to appear in territorial court Dec. 5, to face a charge of assault.
Deneron is alleged to have assaulted a 15-year-old girl in September of last year.