Former B.C. RCMP spokesman Tim Shields describes 'flirty' office relationship in sex assault trial
RCMP Insp. Tim Shields speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on July 5, 2010. A former RCMP employee who alleges she was sexual assaulted by a now-retired inspector in a locked washroom at their Vancouver workplace says she's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The complainant told provincial court today she was diagnosed with PTSD after she left her civilian job with the RCMP. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Former RCMP spokesman Tim Shields says he had a “very flirty” relationship with a former colleague who claims he sexually assaulted her in the workplace.
The colleague, a civilian RCMP employee who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, testified that Shields led her into a unisex washroom that she'd never seen before, locked the door, kissed her and said they had chemistry before he undid her bra, touched her breasts, unbuttoned her pants and put her hand on his genitals.
On Tuesday, Shields’ first day of testimony, he told Vancouver provincial court Judge Patrick Doherty that the sexual touching was consensual and that his colleague was an enthusiastic participant. While she claims the bathroom incident took place in September 2009, Shields testified it happened in April of that year.
Under cross-examination Wednesday, he was asked by the Crown what he meant by his relationship being flirty in March and April 2009.
“(She) was dropping by my office unannounced for no specific work-related purpose,” Shields told the judge. “They were social visits. They started with a hug. The hug evolved over time from friendly to more intimate.”
The accused said his colleague complimented him on his looks and they had conversations that started with work and led to more personal subjects and the flirting.
“There was the prolonged eye contact, the frequent smiles that she gave, the laughter where she would laugh out loud and tilt her head back when she laughed. It was a mutual exchange.”
“To be fair, Mr Shields, you can only testify as to how you understood the relationship, fair?” asked Crown counsel Michelle Booker.
“I can testify about what I saw and heard and experienced her doing which is why I believe what I said to be true,” said Shields.
The former Mountie, who served in the force for 18 years and was at one time the spokesman for the RCMP in B.C., said that the hugging evolved to become "more sensual."
“The hugs started out as friendly, short, camaraderie-type of hugs. Over time they got longer. There was more body contact. The front of her body was pressed up against the front of my body for longer periods of time. I would feel her hands moving up and down my back, just a little bit.”
The accused admitted however he never met his colleague for drinks or went out for dinner with her and never went for walks in the park or on the beach.
When Booker suggested they never had lunch together, he said they may have had lunch in the work cafeteria.
Asked whether they shared any “sexting” which she defined as sharing of intimate sexual talk through messages, he said there was no such talk.
He conceded that he’d never bought her a gift — no chocolates, wine, jewelry or flowers.
Asked whether she ever invited him out, he said that while walking from the bathroom incident towards her car, she implied an invitation to her home.
“She said something to the effect of, ‘I know where we can meet next time.’ ”
“You assumed that she meant her home, correct?” said Booker.
“Yes,” said Shields.
“But she did not specifically invite you to her home,” said Booker.
“She didn’t use the word, ‘You can come to my home,’ said Shields.
Earlier Wednesday, Shields’ lawyer David Butcher took the accused through a series of emails exchanged between Shields and the colleague after the bathroom incident which indicated a friendly relationship between the two.
Shields told the judge he’d also met with the colleague in May 2011 after she invited him out to tea at a Cambie Street restaurant.
“We had a very friendly meeting, sitting across the table from each other. She bought me a London Fog (tea) drink. We chatted about work. We chatted about our personal lives. We laughed, we smiled. We were two friends enjoying each other.”
Butcher is alleging that the colleague and her now-common-law husband were motivated to fabricate the sexual assault allegations for financial gain. The colleague at one point had her sick benefits threatened to be cut off and the husband’s tech business had failed.
On Wednesday, Butcher applied to have the husband recalled for further cross-examination, alleging he had perjured himself during his testimony last Friday. The judge agreed to the application. The husband is expected to resume testimony Thursday. Shields will then continue his cross-examination.