RCMP Officers Testify in Cranbrook Sexual Assault Trial

The court heard from Constables Andrea Fitzpatrick and Andrew Tarala Wednesday morning, who worked to arrest the accused.

Wednesday morning marked the first day of witness cross-examination in the Supreme Court chambers, as Matthew Allan Buxton is on trial on charges of sexual assault, assault, and uttering death threats.

The officers recount being called to a trailer park in Cranbrook around 4:40 am on Saturday, October 8, 2016.

Cst. Fitzpatrick testified that she arrived at the scene a couple of minutes before Cst. Tarala, and when she first stepped foot on the property, she claims that she saw the alleged victim and Buxton's roommate exiting the residence.

Fitzpatrick says the woman yelled out something to the effect of, "Help me, help me," as she ran to a safe distance. Fitzpatrick then entered the home while Tarala briefly spoke to the roommate.

Fitzpatrick then told the court that she went into Buxton's bedroom and found him completely naked. Upon her arrival, she claims Buxton became agitated and was not cooperative during the arrest. Tarala adds that the two officers had to "wrestle" him down to the ground in order to place him into handcuffs. He was then clothed before being taken away.

Fitzpatrick continued by saying that she took Buxton back to the Cranbrook RCMP office while Tarala stayed behind to interview the woman and the roommate.

Tarala says the woman told him about the assault and death threats, but did not disclose the sexual assault until the second interview with her the following day. He recalled her being physically distraught at the time of the incident and was not in the best frame of mind to give a lengthy interview about the night's events.

The jury heard that the day after the alleged incident, Fitzpatrick returned to Buxton's residence and spoke with the roommate, who had the place completely cleaned out with all alcohol containers removed. 

Court proceedings will continue Wednesday afternoon with cross-examinations of the two people who were bartending at a Cranbrook pub hours before the incident allegedly took place. Both Buxton and the woman were reportedly there earlier in the night.

The alleged victim is expected to testify Thursday morning.

- David Opinko

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