UPDATED: Elderly witness stands by claims suspended Kentville paramedic sexually assaulted her

Editor's note: Some readers might find details of testimony in this article disturbing.

Carole Morris-Underhill editor@hantsjournal.ca
Published on October 3, 2014

WINDSOR - With a photo of her husband clutched in her hands, a 72-year-old Mount Uniacke woman was steadfast with her testimony about being sexually assaulted by a paramedic.

“This is the first time I've been to court and it feels like I'm a criminal,” the witness said to the judge after being cross-examined by the defence for about two hours this morning.

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, took the stand Oct. 3 and reiterated that James Duncan Keats, 48, sexually assaulted her on two occasions. Despite the defence attorney asking her several similar questions involving the alleged assaults, the woman didn't waver in her responses.

Follow live coverage from the courtroom on our live blog or follow Hants Journal editor Carole Morris-Underhill on Twitter for updates.

Keats is accused of sexually assaulting the woman twice: once in the back of an ambulance in September 2012 and again while responding to a call for assistance in her home in May 2013.

During the first day of the trial Sept. 29, the woman's testimony included explicit details involving the sexual assault that allegedly took place in her home while her husband, who has medical issues, was being tended to downstairs by another paramedic. Despite her objections, she claimed the assailant performed oral sex on her before initiating intercourse. The court also heard the assailant kissed her hand before he left after the assault and said, “You’re a beautiful lady.” When she asked his name, he replied, “James.”

Read about day one of the trial here.

After the woman's Sept. 29 testimony, Keats’ lawyer Chrystal MacAulay cross-examined the complainant for nearly three hours. She resumed her questioning today.

MacAulay picked up where they left off – recapping the details of the sexual assaults that the woman testified took place. MacAulay focused on the woman's bedroom, the layout of it and the exact details of the assault.

At one point during the cross-examination, the woman on the stand dug in her purse and pulled out a piece of paper containing the exact dimensions of her bedroom. She said it was 18 feet, seven inches by 11 feet, five inches.

“That helps, your honour,” the Crown prosecutor said, dryly, as he had questioned earlier why the defence lawyer was asking for so many details involving the bedroom.

MacAulay made several mentions of the woman's dog, which had allegedly entered the room while the sexual assault was taking place, and questioned why it wasn't included in her initial report to the police.

“I was in shock for many days,” the witness said, noting she likely mentioned the dog in later conversations with the police.

MacAulay asked the witness if her recollections improved over time. The witness noted she's had a year to think about what happened.

Under questioning about why the woman covered herself up with blankets when she heard the second paramedic coming up the stairs, the woman said she had no clothes on.

“No woman wants to be seen naked,” she said.

After much back and forth about the alleged assault in the woman's home, MacAulay asked if she thought the assault was premeditated. The witness said she did.

When asked if she was angry, the witness quickly replied: "Any woman that is raped is angry."

The Mount Uniacke woman said she wanted to see the paramedic go to jail for what he did to her.

MacAulay wrapped up her questions around 1:15 p.m. and Fergusson said he did not require a redirect of the witness.

Court resumed at 2:20 p.m. with a voir dire hearing, which is to determine the admissibility of evidence. A video was shown depicting a conversation between an RCMP officer and the suspect. Keats was invited to sit near his lawyer to watch the video. Previously, he had been sitting near the back of the courtroom.

Court sources say the video, taped on May 31 at the Enfield RCMP detachment, is approximately eight hours long. At the beginning of the video, Keats thanks the officer for the respect shown to him during his arrest. The officers, wearing plain clothes, had picked him up the night before while at a ball game.

Much of the video that was shown during the afternoon involved the RCMP officer and Keats discussing the job of a paramedic.

The court case will resume Nov. 10 at 9:30 a.m. in Windsor. The Crown is expected to call a witness to the stand – an RCMP officer who is due to go on maternity leave in December – and then viewing of the police video is scheduled to continue.

The court has set aside the afternoon of Nov. 20 and the entire day of Nov. 21 to continue the trial.




Earlier story:

The second day of the first scheduled trial for a suspended paramedic accused of sexually assaulting six female patients, including one East Hants woman, is underway in Windsor today, Oct. 3.

James Duncan Keats, 48, was in provincial court Sept. 29 for the start of a two-day trial focusing on alleged sexual assaults involving a Mount Uniacke woman.

Read about day one of the trial here.

Follow live coverage from the courtroom on our live blog or follow Hants Journal editor Carole Morris-Underhill on Twitter for updates.

The Kentville man is accused of sexually assaulting the woman on two occasions: once in the back of an ambulance in September 2012 and while responding to a call for assistance in her home in May 2013.

Click here for all TC Media coverage of the case.