Closing arguments heard in trial of Manitoba teacher charged with sexual assault of underage girl

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Closing arguments were presented Thursday in the trial for a former Lorette teacher charged with sexually assaulting an underage girl.

Remi Dallaire has pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges including sexual assault, touching a person under 16 for a sexual purpose, inviting touching and making available sexually explicit material.

The trial which started Monday wrapped up Thursday afternoon.

Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Ken Champagne could have a decision as early as Friday afternoon.

The girl, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, testified she was sexually assaulted, inappropriately touched and shown pornography when she spent time alone with Dallaire.

Dallaire’s lawyer acknowledged the relationship may have been inappropriate but argued it didn’t cross the boundary to a criminal offence.

Court heard the girl was 8 when she got to know Dallaire after her mom moved across the hall from his apartment in June 2016.

Dallaire began helping the mom by looking after her daughter when she was at work.

“It was clear she felt she needed Mr. Dallaire’s help and he was happy to offer it,” Crown attorney Danielle Simard told court during closing arguments.

The girl testified earlier this week she was sexually assaulted and inappropriately touched on more than one occasion.

“It’s the Crown’s position the evidence paints a picture of an accused who befriended a vulnerable mother and daughter for his own nefarious purposes,” Simard told court.  “I would urge the court to convict him on all counts.”

Dallaire’s lawyer Matt Gould told court the relationship may have been inappropriate but not criminal.

“It is uncontested that there was time together,” said Gould.  “The allegations against him are very serious.  By any account there was a close relationship.”

“The Crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the relationship went beyond inappropriate and crossed that boundary to a criminal offence.  The defence’s position is that a careful analysis of the complainant’s evidence is not as compelling as the Crown says it is.”

Dallaire did not take the stand.

The Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine said in a statement Dallaire has not been employed by the division since the end 2015-2016 school year.

The division said it’s aware of the case against Dallaire but can’t comment any further as the matter is before the courts.

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