Weaver verdict awaits
Jury having trouble judging sexual assault evidence
by Derek Neary
NNSL (Apr 24/98) - A Supreme Court jury spent much of Thursday trying to decide the guilt or innocence of Yellowknife businessman Bud Wayne Weaver, who faces two charges of sexual assault.
No decision had been reached as of press time Thursday night.
After more than five hours of deliberation, the jury requested that Justice L. R. Morin provide them for a second time with instruction, definitions and review of the testimony.
The charges relate to a series of alleged incidents between 1983 and 1991 in or around Yellowknife. Two women, who were between the ages of 4 and 15 at the time of the alleged incidents, claim Weaver touched them inappropriately. The incidents began with back rubs but then turned into fondling, oral sex and digital penetration, they testified.
Morin had conferred with the jury Thursday morning before deliberations and raised the issue of the absence of witnesses. If, as the women said, they had occasionally protested during the alleged assaults, why was there no evidence of anyone hearing their protests or attempts to resist the assaults? he noted.
Morin also asked whether their appearances after these alleged recurring incidents wouldn't have eventually alerted others to their situation.
As well, the judge questioned why the girls would continue to initiate contact with Weaver, phoning him, visiting him at work and having dinner with him.