A rookie police officer has been acquitted of sexually assaulting a financial services worker he met online, but a judge warned him to make sure he correctly reads women in the future.
"The next time a situation occurs like this, walk away from it," advised provincial court Justice Minoo Khoorshed. "You cannot say, ‘I thought she consented.’ Rather you must say, ‘I know she consented.’." the judge said.
"Yes, sir," replied Toronto Const. Gaganpreet Singh Grewal, 27, who joined the force in 2007. Grewal and the woman met on the Plenty of Fish online dating site in the fall of 2008. They soon agreed to meet at a Second Cup on Oct. 26. He was off duty at the time.
Their accounts of what happened after that differ greatly. Grewal told his lawyer Joseph Markson on Friday that they had three heavy petting sessions in her car, engaged in explicit chat and made plans to have sexual intercourse later that night, when she suddenly changed her mind.
The judge, summarizing her evidence, said she testified Thursday that Grewal forced his attentions on her and she clearly resisted him, although she pretended to like it at one point because she was afraid of him.
The judge discounted much of her version, noting they were parked either in the coffee shop parking lot or at a gas station, where she could easily have alerted passersby.
"Why didn’t she honk the horn or do something or start the lights or try to get out of the car?" Khoorshed asked. Crown prosecutor Ian Bulmer, however, argued this was not a case of "honest mistaken belief" on Grewal’s part, adding the officer’s version of events "defies common sense."
After Grewal was acquitted, well-wishers filling the small Old City Hall courtroom surrounded him. He declined comment, but his lawyer called it a "very welcome and long-awaited vindication of my client."
Grewal, who has been suspended from duties, is now free to return to "where he belongs, serving the public," Markson said.