A local veterinarian, Dr. Ashwani Chander, was found not guilty of two counts of sexual assault, as well as not guilty of common assault on Monday, April 4th, 2022, at The Court of Queen's Bench in Calgary.
Dr. Chander was previously accused (the alleged victim’s name is under a publication ban) of having committed sexual assault with a weapon, in this case, an ultrasound probe on December 15th, 2018 and was also accused by the same individual to have sexually assaulted them on January 6th, 2019 in a veterinary clinic in Airdrie.
In his oral decision, the judge presiding over the case said that even if he did not accept Dr. Chander's denials, he could not overlook the inconsistencies in the alleged victim's testimony, which cast reasonable doubt on their claims and went to the issue of credibility.
The judge underlined that Dr. Chander maintained his denial during the course of the trial, denying inappropriately touching the victim on both counts as well as denying ever having been in the surgical suite where the first alleged assault took place. This was underscored by the fact that statements by the individual accusing Dr. Chander changed over the course of the trial, especially when it came to the specific dates when the alleged December 2018 assault took place.
According to the judge, the alleged victim told RCMP that they were not sure if the December 2018 assault took place on December 14th or 15th, but they were certain it occurred on one of the two days. This was further scrutinized when a work schedule that was entered into evidence demonstrated the alleged victim was not scheduled to close the clinic on December 14th, and they were scheduled to work at least 15 to 30 minutes after the alleged assault took place.
The judge underscored that due to the alleged victim’s inability to pinpoint the exact date in December 2018, coupled with multiple witnesses who testified that they had been in the veterinary clinic for various procedures presided over by Dr. Chander and other staff, as well as time-stamped receipts provided by clients, produced by the alleged victim during the exact time-frame of the first assault in December of 2018, led to a not guilty verdict.
With regards to the second count of sexual assault that allegedly occurred in January 2019, the judge said that while Dr. Chander did admit to slapping the backside of the alleged victim, it was not intended as a sexual gesture and the judge believed that it was in part meant to be disciplinary in action, coupled with Dr. Chander's statements at the time of the incident. Because Dr. Chander admitted the incident in question had taken place in full view of security cameras in a public area of the clinic as well as in front of another colleague who had witnessed the incident, taking into account the incident was momentary, the judge also found Dr. Chander not guilty on the second count of sexual assault and the lesser charge of common assault.
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