Alleged victim speaks in historic sexual assault trial in Stratford
STRATFORD -- The woman who brought forward a complaint in a historic sexual assault trial in Stratford testified on Wednesday.
Roger Hilderley, a long-time volunteer with a festival organization in the city, is on trial for allegations dating back almost 20 years.
The complainant told court on May 1, 2002, she went to Hilderley's home for a cup of coffee. While drinking the coffee, she said she noticed something was wrong. She described her body as feeling lifeless.
"I remember I had to really hang on to the railing because I didn't know if I was going to fall or not," she testified in court.
She told court that she didn't feel well, but when she tried to leave Hilderley's house, she claimed he wouldn't let her.
"He beat me to the door because I remember having my hand on the door handle by this point and he had his hand on the door and goes, 'Well just give me a hug before you leave,'" she said.
The woman said she has memory flashes of what happened next, adding she believes she was sexually assaulted by Hilderley.
"In my head, I'm shouting why are you doing this? But it was like my body wasn't my body anymore. It was like I was jelly. It wouldn't stop him from hurting me," she told court.
She said she was in a haze for the rest of the day after leaving Hilderley's home, and confided in a friend the next day.
"She told me that day when I was sitting on the tub, 'Oh my God, he put drugs in your coffee. Do yourself a favour and get a blood and urine test done,'" she said.
The woman claimed she tested positive for two different drugs.
During cross examination, defence attorney Thomas Brock suggested the friend was filling in the blanks for the witness. He also said her blackouts made her testimony unreliable.
"You found it difficult to differentiate between something factually that was happening and something that you otherwise hallucinated," he said.
Brock also questioned an alleged deleted voice message from Hilderley.
"Why is it you deleted a voicemail the following day?" Brock asked.
"Because it freaked me out," the woman replied.
Hilderley was well-known in the community and volunteered with Stratford's Friends of the Festival for decades. Hilderley and the witness were known to each other prior to the alleged incident.
The woman's identity is protected under a publication ban.
The trial will resume on Oct. 22 with four more witnesses. It's expected to wrap up by the end of the month.