Toronto Star

May. 15, 01:00 EDT

When can yes mean no?

Apparent consent to sex at issue

Scott Tracey
TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE
Toronto Star

GUELPH A crown attorney told a jury yesterday that saying yes to sexual advances does not necessarily mean the person is consenting.

Crown attorney Murray DeVos told jurors that "Yes" can sometimes mean "No." In his closing argument, DeVos urged the jury to convict a local cab driver of sexually assaulting a young woman, despite the woman's apparent consent.

The woman has testified that during a cab ride with Robin Francis, 47, he complimented her looks, then drove her to a dark parking lot.

When Francis asked, she said she agreed to let him touch her breasts because she was afraid. She fled when he tried to kiss her. She conceded Francis did not threaten her.

DeVoss said if jurors are satisfied the woman did not want Francis to touch her, they could find Francis guilty.

But defence counsel Donald McKinnon said: "If you ask and you're told yes, can you rely on that to go ahead and touch a person? I understand the proposition that no means no, and I'm suggesting the equally valid proposition that yes means yes."

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