Former Mission political candidate Wyatt Scott was acquitted of a sexual assault charge Wednesday in Abbotsford provincial court.
The judge indicated in his ruling that it had not been proven that Scott had acted without the complainant’s consent or without believing there was consent.
The trial for Scott, who made headlines for an outlandish video during the 2015 federal election campaign, began Monday, when the complainant – a former employee of Scott’s – testified that he made unwanted sexual advances to her that included rubbing his body against hers and making suggestive comments.
But Scott’s lawyer, in cross-examining the complainant, painted a picture of a mutually flirtatious relationship in which Scott felt the complainant was open to his advances.
Scott, 40, was charged in March 2016 with one count of sexual assault, allegedly occurring between November 2014 and April 2015 at the Mission rock-and-gem business he and his wife own.
Scott is best known for releasing a YouTube video in 2015, when he was running as an independent federal election candidate in the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding won by Jati Sidhu.
The video depicted Scott riding a Canada goose, slaying a dragon, fist-bumping an alien and shooting laser beams out of his eyes.
His former employee, whose name is protected under a publication ban, testified that she began working for Scott in November 2014, when she was 20 years old, and they developed a friendly working relationship over the next few months.
But she said she became increasingly uncomfortable with his behaviour.
“It started out with just comments being made that, to me, were inappropriate,” she said.
For example, she said if she wanted to purchase a store product and asked Scott how much it was, he would reply, “Just two minutes of your time.”
On another occasion, she said Scott showed her a picture on his phone that was apparently of a note from his wife, giving him permission to have a mistress.
The woman said the behaviour escalated to physical touching. She said if she was working at the front counter, Scott would walk behind her and press up against her, even though there was room for him to get by without touching her.
On another occasion, she said Scott called her into the back room and asked her to sit down. He then pulled her chair towards him so her knee was between his legs.
In the final incident, the woman was leaning up against a desk when she said Scott approached her, took her hands in his, stretched her arms out and pressed his body against hers.
She said she pushed her hands away from him and wiggled free.
The woman said she then told Scott’s wife about the incident, and she was fired. She then filed a police report in July 2015.
In cross-examining the woman, defence lawyer Alexis Falk asked her about whether she remembered specific incidents in which she hugged Scott, massaged his shoulders, kissed him on the cheek, slapped him on his bottom, and jumped on him and wrapped her arms and legs around him.
The complainant often replied that she didn’t remember specific incidents, but that she and her co-workers often exhibited those behaviours with one another.
“We were all a huggy bunch,” she said.
Falk also suggested during her questioning that the woman was fired not because she told Scott’s wife about the alleged incidents, but because the shop was struggling financially. Two others were fired the same day, Falk pointed out.
Falk also suggested that the woman often flirted with Scott, but she denied the claim.
“I’m a very happy, friendly person. It all depends on how someone else sees it,” she said.
NOTE: Due to an incorrect notation in court records, an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that charges had been dismissed against Wyatt Scott, rather than that he had been acquitted. Although the outcome is the same, a dismissal generally comes before the start or end of a trial, while an acquittal comes after the trial has concluded.