Jury deliberations begin in sexual-assault trial
Jury deliberations have begun in the trial of a Kamloops man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl and groping her 17-year-old sister nearly three years ago.
Tristan Warren Whitford, who was then 22 and is now 25, is charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual interference of a person under 16.
The charges date back to May of 2009.
The 11-person B.C. Supreme Court jury began deliberating on Friday, Oct. 28.
During four days of evidence this week, jurors heard conflicting testimony about what happened in the early-morning hours of May 28, 2009.
The two sisters — now ages 17 and 19 — said Whitford raped the younger sister and groped the older sister while she slept.
The alleged events occurred after a night of drinking at Whitford's Batchelor Heights home.
Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate told the jury Whitford had consensual sex with the younger sister and never groped the older sister.
The younger sister was 15 at the time, but Tate said his client believed she was actually 16.
While on the witness stand, the girl testified she told Whitford she was 15.
Age could be an issue. If the jury finds the sex was consensual ,but Whitford knew the girl was actually 15, he could still be convicted.
The identities of the sisters are shielded by a court-ordered publication ban.