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VANCOUVER, B.C. —A Fort St. John lawyer on trial for sexual assault in Vancouver told the court his accuser is lying, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Robert Zeunert has pleaded not guilty to the allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman in February 2020 at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver.
On Wednesday, Zeunert told the B.C. Supreme Court he met his accuser, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, by chance late in the evening while drinking at the Railway Club on Dunsmuir Street.
According to the Vancouver Sun, he was in Vancouver to attend a meeting of the Law Foundation of B.C., which funds programs and projects in some regions of the legal system.
Zeunert was on the board of governors but had to step down when the allegations against him came to light.
The Vancouver Sun said he testified that after the meeting, he returned to his room for a nap before going out for dinner and drinks.
After dinner, he went to the Railway Club, where he met the alleged victim, who previously told the court she was in the bar having drinks with colleagues after work.
The complainant told the court she was “very drunk” at the bar, but Zeunert said she didn’t appear to be to him.
The complainant said that after they left the bar, she had trouble standing and didn’t remember much about their journey to his hotel.
Zeunert said the woman didn’t have any issues walking, and they took a short cab ride before getting out to walk the rest of the way, including walking through the Hotel Vancouver to the Sutton Place Hotel.
The lawyer remembers walking and having a conversation with the complainant after leaving the bar. According to the Vancouver Sun, Zeunert said he was attracted to her, finding her to be a fun and intelligent woman.
Upon entering the hotel room, the alleged victim told the court she dropped her bag and coat and then dropped face-down on the bed “like a ton of bricks.”
On Wednesday, defence lawyer Richard Gibbs asked Zeunert about the truthfulness of her that claim, the Vancouver Sun said.
“My conclusion is that she was lying,” Zeunert replied.
The complainant told the jury that she woke up in the bed with her pants and underwear taken off, with Zeunert between her legs performing oral sex on her.
Zeunert admitted to performing oral sex on her but said it was consensual. He said they fell asleep shortly after and woke up later in the morning.
“I made sure that there was clear consent from her, that she had an operating mind, and she knew exactly what we were doing. Everything we did that night she consented to,” Zeunert said.
Because of his previous job as a prosecutor, Zeunert said he’d prosecuted half a dozen serious sexual assault cases and was familiar with the criminal law.
The Vancouver Sun said the lawyers for the Crown and defence are expected to begin final submissions on Thursday. Afterwards, Justice Neena Sharma will give her instructions to the jury, who can then begin deliberations.
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