The testimony of a former teenage basketball player who claims his coach repeatedly abused him cannot be believed, a defense attorney said Friday.
But Crown prosecutor Rose Greenwood said there was enough evidence for provincial court judge Barry Nordin to find Sean Maheu guilty of the four sex-related charges he faces.
Greenwood said the complainant’s inability to articulate what happened to him at times did not make him an unreliable witness.
“Clearly, the battle continues to this day,” Greenwood said in her closing arguments before Nordin.
“It is a struggle for him to get the words out. It is a struggle for him to articulate how Mr. Maheu sexually assaulted him,” she said.
But defense lawyer Matt Deshaye said the teenager’s claims that Maheu sexually and anally violated him on four or five occasions at the coach’s southwest Calgary home five years ago cannot be believed.
“His evidence deserves little or no weight,” Deshaye said.
The attorney noted that the complainant first made his allegations two years ago during an interview with sex crimes Det. Trish Allen.
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Prior to that, the complainant used drugs and alcohol on a daily basis for several years.
“He testified that this took place over a period of about two years,” Deshaye said.
But the attorney noted that even that was inaccurate, as the witness said he used drugs and alcohol while still being coached by Maheu in 2017, and spoke to Allen on November 13, 2020.
“It’s close to a 3 1/2 year period where (he) was using drugs on a daily basis,” he said.
And Deshaye noted that the complainant used a variety of drugs, including cocaine and psychedelics.
The lawyer said the witness claimed he had no memory of the alleged assaults for two years and was only aware of a feeling that something was wrong when he finally disclosed the abuse to his mother.
Deshaye also said the then teenager’s mother may have influenced his memories of his contact with Maheu.
“(He) testified how his mother always believed that something happened between him and Mr. Maheu,” he said.
The witness also said his mother seemed to understand his destructive behavior after he disclosed the abuse.
“This is evidence of an outside influence,” Deshaye said.
But Greenwood argued there were problems with Maheu’s testimony that he never molested the boy.
“There are reasons in this case not to believe Mr. Maheu,” she said.
“Mr. Maheu said he wasn’t particularly close to (the complainant),” Greenwood said, noting that was disputed by a former teammate who testified for the defense.
And she said the prosecutor had no motive to make allegations against his former coach 3 1/2 years after he last played for him.
Nordin will issue a ruling early in the new year.