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A South Okanagan man accused of sex assault on a young boy flatly denied the allegations in court Thursday morning.
The man, who can only be identified as TB due to a publication ban, took the stand as the defence’s first witness on Thursday, testifying on his relationship with a young boy in 2011 and 2012.
“Did you have any sexual interactions with (the boy) whatsoever at any of the times that you dealt with him?” asked defence lawyer Don Skogstad.
“No,” said TB.
During his testimony, TB described a benign relationship between himself and the boy — testimony that directly contradicted that of the boy.
TB, now 26, told the court he first hung out with the boy in the months after TB’s father died in 2011, and the boy came over to his house with his family to support TB and his mother.
The families got together at TB’s house a number of times after that and, according to TB, he would often play video games with the boy. The boy first slept over in October 2011, according to TB, who said the boy’s mother had wanted to go home that night, but the boy was watching a movie with TB and wanted to stay over to finish the movie.
“He slept in my bed. I slept on my couch in my room,” TB said.
The two had another sleepover in November that year, according to TB, who said there weren’t anymore sleepovers at his house that year. He did go with the boy and his father to the boy’s grandparents’ place on Vancouver Island for Christmas, which he said helped him get away from a situation at home that he wasn’t comfortable with. That was the first time TB and the boy slept on the same mattress together, as all of the beds and couches were taken up in the house.
After returning from Vancouver Island, TB said he gave the boy’s whole family gifts, including an iPod he got for the boy — one of the gifts the boy claimed was being used against him to keep him in a sexual relationship with TB.
In January 2011, TB said the boy came over on three Friday nights to stay the night and go to Mount Baldy with him on the Saturday morning, where he helped teach the boy to snowboard. At that time, TB said the boy slept on the bed, while he slept on the couch.
The two did not have any sleepovers in February, according to TB, because the boy’s father was upset that the boy was spending weekends with TB, and not with him at his place in Penticton.
“Did you have a problem with not seeing him at all in February?” Skogstad asked.
“I did not, no,” TB replied.
As he said that, the boy’s mother, who had been visibly shaking her head and often quietly sighed and held her head in her hands after numerous of TB’s responses, left the room, not returning for several minutes.
For the boy’s birthday in March, TB said he gave the boy an old snowboard of his, which was too small for him. TB said he spent a night at the boy’s father’s place that month, where the two shared a mattress on the floor.
In the following weeks, the boy spent another night at TB’s place the night prior to going to a water park in Kelowna, and that was the first time TB said the two shared TB’s bed. He testified the boy noted the two had already shared a bed at the boy’s father’s and grandparents’ places.
In subsequent sleepovers, TB said the two continued to share the bed, including on the anniversary of TB’s father’s death, when TB went to a water park, shopping and to a movie.
While shopping, TB said he bought a toy gun for the boy, which shot gel capsules that contained water.
TB’s testimony followed a three-day case for the Crown, which saw testimony from the boy, his mother and his father.
The boy accused TB of inappropriate touching and sex assault, and using presents to keep him coming back to him.
The trial, originally scheduled for two weeks, is expected to come to a close on Friday.