Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details that some readers may find disturbing.
A man has been found guilty of raping a person and keeping them prisoner in her own home.
Following a four-day trial in Inuvik Supreme Court that concluded April 1, Justice Louise Charbonneau found Christopher Thrasher guilty of sexual assault and unlawful confinement.
A publication ban prevents the release of any information that could identify the victim, who testified to court by way of closed-circuit television to avoid seeing Thrasher and minimize re-experiencing trauma. The victim also reported being afraid to be alone.
The victim told the court she was drinking in her apartment with friends and Thrasher, who was under conditions to not be in contact with her, arrived with four bottles of wine and two large bottles of vodka. She told court she allowed Thrasher to stay because he had so much alcohol with him.
At some point in the evening, she passed out. She woke up to Thrasher forcing himself on her.
“He said he owned me and told me he was going to make sure no one else touches me but him,” testified the victim, who eventually gave up fighting, turned her head to the side and closed her eyes.
Eventually, the victim said she started to feel sick and told Thrasher she was going to vomit. Thrasher got her a trash can and left the room. There was no one else in the apartment.
After the victim was able to get dressed, she said Thrasher kept them prisoner in her own apartment, preventing her from getting her jacket or phone and guarding the door out of the suite.
“He told me ‘You’re not (expletive) going anywhere,'” she testified. “‘You’re going to sit up and drink with me. We’ve got lots of booze.'”
The victim told court she pretended to drink vodka with Thrasher and kept giving him drinks until he appeared too drunk to prevent escape. She then asked to use the bathroom and made a break for it. The victim told court she first ran down the hallway to their neighbour’s suite but no one was home, so she fled.
Once outside, another neighbour loaned his phone to the victim, who called police. Two police officers testified they arrived at 6:35 p.m., April 3, 2020 and found the victim in a state of distress. The victim told police Thrasher was in her apartment. Thrasher was arrested for breach of his release conditions.
About 45 minutes later, the victim phoned police again and told them she had been raped.
Thrasher took the stand in his defence, but Justice Charbonneau rejected his evidence on several grounds, notably that during cross examination he could not remember if the victim had given consent to sex or not.
“There were significant gaps in his memory,” said Charbonneau. “Mr. Thrasher’s timeline does not make sense; the periods of lack of memory seem a bit convenient.
“In cross examination, he did not actually remember the sexual interaction. I find his evidence completely unreliable.”
In custody since his arrest, Thrasher will be sentenced in Yellowknife on May 3 to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. By the time he is sentenced, he will have been in custody for 388 days.