Photo: Nicholas Johansen
A sexual assault trial began Monday in Kelowna for four young hockey players.
The allegations against brothers Christian and David Dupas and friends Kole Comin and Trevor Pereverzoff date back to June of 2018, when a young woman claims she was sexually assaulted at a house party in West Kelowna.
In her opening statement, Crown Counsel Patricia O’Neill alleged the young woman, who will refered to as Y.W. as her identity is protected by a publication ban, connected with Comin through the online dating app Bumble.
She met him after work on the evening of June 16, 2018, and following a brief drink and appetizer at a popular restaurant, the Crown alleges the pair drove with another man to the party at the home of the Dupas brothers.
That’s where Y.W. was allegedly sexually assaulted after a night of drinking and socializing that also saw the group take a taxi downtown to BNA Brewing, and then return to the house in the early morning hours of June 17.
The Crown said the complainant blacked out at one point while in a bedroom watching TV with a number of people, and when she woke up, her clothes were off and she was surrounded by four young men who allegedly took turns raping her, despite her pleas for them to stop and let her leave.
Later that day, Y.W. called 911 to report the incident and was taken by ambulance to Kelowna General Hospital, where a sexual assault examiner collected evidence that was sent off for forensic and DNA testing.
The Crown’s first witness was RCMP Const. Lyndsey Schwindt, who took the initial statement from Y.W. at KGH, and then had her give another statement the next day at the West Kelowna detachment.
Schwindt told the court that Y.W. was nervous and crying when she first started interviewing her but became more comfortable as they spoke.
Schwindt testified that she also watched a brief video that the complainant recorded in the backyard of the Dupas home on Saturday night, showing some of the people in attendance at the party.
That recording as well as CCTV footage from BNA Brewing and an audio recording from the taxi that took Y.W. from the scene after she was sexually assaulted, will be entered as evidence.
The first exhibit presented to the court was a sketch that Y.W. did of the basement of the home, that she gave to Const. Schwindt.
The constable also told the court that during the interview they referred to the accused as Hockey Players 1, 2, 3 and 4 because Y.W. didn’t know all their names at the time.
Pereverzoff played for the Prince George Spruce Kings for part of the 2014-2015 season and was last listed on the roster of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 2019.
Comin played one game with the Merritt Centennials in 2015 and finished his junior hockey career in Alberta in 2020.
The Crown plans to call several other RCMP officers who were involved in the case as witnesses, as well as the doctor who examined Y.W. at KGH and the forensic expert who developed the DNA profiles and examined other evidence.
The complainant is due to take the stand next Tuesday. After her testimony, Crown Counsel is expected to wrap its case.
All four young men were arrested in 2020 and are charged with one count each of sexual assault and unlawful confinement. They entered not guilty pleas at the beginning of the trial on Monday.
They are represented by four different lawyers who will begin presenting their cases at the conclusion of the Crown case.