Six stories in the news today, May 19
Six stories in the news for Friday, May 19
Sheriffs lead Tracey Donald Dodds into Kentville provincial court for the continuation of his trial on May 18.
KENTVILLE, NS - A Wolfville man accused of using a woman’s opiate addiction and threats of sending her back to jail to control and sexually exploit her was back in court as his trial continued.
The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, completed her testimony against 60-year-old Tracey Donald Dodds on May 18, the second day of the trial. She was the first witness called by Crown Jim Fyfe when the trial began on March 30.
Dodds has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault; verbally conveying a death threat, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, inducing a woman to submit to sexual acts by threatening to revoke her surety, using threats of violence for the purpose of compelling the alleged victim to perform certain sexual acts and trafficking in hydromorphone.
It’s alleged that Dodds committed the offences in Wolfville between Feb. 13 and March 7. The charges have not been proven in court. He was denied bail and is being held in custody on a due course of law remand.
Acting as her surety, Dodds had bailed the alleged victim out of jail. She said she was suffering from opiate withdrawal. Fyfe asked her if she’d consented at any point to alleged sexual acts with Dodds other than for the purpose of getting pills.
“No,” she said. “He’d either say I’m pulling your bail or I’m not taking you for methadone or I’m not going to get you your pills.”
Before completing her testimony and being cross-examined by defence Brian Vardigans, the complainant objected to the presence of a woman in the court who had allegedly introduced the complainant to Dodds.
“Can she be removed?” the complainant asked.
The complainant said the woman has threatened her. She accused the woman of making hand signals during her testimony, which the woman denied.
Judge Ronda Van Der Hoek granted the request to exclude the woman from the court until the witness completed her testimony and cross-examination.
Vardigans asked the complainant if Dodds had ever told her he was impotent. The woman said he never told her that and testified that Dodds had erections and ejaculated on numerous occasions.
The court heard that after the RCMP arrested the complainant on March 7 in order to extricate her from Dodds’ house in Wolfville, she gave a statement to police. The RCMP then transported her to Windsor where she met a friend who took her to a court appearance the following day. She was released on conditions, without Dodds as her surety.
The second Crown witness was the complainant’s grandmother. She said she would talk to her granddaughter, who she had raised, on the phone or text with her two or three times a day while she was with Dodds. There were times when Dodds would answer, as the complainant was using his phone before she was able to purchase her own.
The witness said she became concerned for her granddaughter’s wellbeing. She said she called the RCMP on three occasions to ask them to check on her. The second time was because she hadn’t heard from her granddaughter in a couple days. The third was after talking to her granddaughter on the phone and hearing that she was “very upset.”
“She had never been in an emotional state,” the woman said.
The woman said her granddaughter explained what was happening. She testified that she told her granddaughter more than once “she should get out of there” and “it wasn’t a good place.”
RCMP constable knew of Dodds
The third and final Crown witness was Const. Deborah Nichol, one of the officers who attended Dodds’ house on March 7 to arrest and remove the complainant.
Nichol testified that the Wolfville RCMP first received a call from the complainant the morning of March 7. The woman said she was on house arrest but her surety wasn’t home and she was in need of methadone.
Nichol said the woman later told her she didn’t feel safe in the home because of the living conditions, including mould, and that she felt ill. Nichol said the woman told her about the sexual assaults and that her mental health issues were worsening.
Nichol said the woman later gave a voluntary statement to police. During cross-examination, she said police hadn’t told the complainant anything negative about Dodds. However, Nichol said she knew who Dodds was.
“I would say he doesn’t like me because of the prior arrest,” Nichol said.
The court heard that Nichol had once arrested Dodds for possession of stolen property after a cell phone he had tried to activate came up flagged as stolen. It turned out that Dodds had purchased the phone from a pawnshop.
No charges were laid but Dodds lodged a public complaint against the constable. The complaint didn’t result in any sanctions against her.
The trial continues June 15, when the defence is expected to call a doctor and Dodds to the witness stand.