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Okanagan RCMP officer denies negligence during interview of sexual assault victim

A Kelowna RCMP officer has responded to a civil claim which sparked national outrage in May when it was alleged that he had interrogated a sexual assault complainant in a demeaning manner.

The woman filed the civil claim in June regarding an interview on, or around, March 5, 2012, in which she spoke with defendant Corporal Kenneth Hall regarding her experienced sexual assault. The Indigenous woman, who was 17-years-old at the time, claims that Hall interacted with her in a "brutal, degrading and dehumanizing interrogation for over 2 hours."

The video released of the interview led to widespread public response as well as condemning comments from members of parliament, but in his response Hall says there was nothing wrong in his actions.

In his response to the civil claim Hall denies that the interview was "improper" and "denies each and every allegation" made in the claim with the exception of Hall's position in the RCMP, which is outlined as the only true fact in the initial claim.

While the woman claims that due to the improper interrogation, she suffered from depression, anxiety, a diminished self-worth, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation and attempted suicide among other consequences; Hall's response denies that the woman suffered any "injury, loss, damage or expenses as alleged in the Notice of Civil Claim, or at all."

Hall's response also dismisses the claim as a result of the limitation period, which states the claim cannot be brought forward after two years of discovery or two years from the date that the minor turns 19. The woman was 17 during the interview in 2012 and "the limitation period expired sometime in 2015 or 2016," the response says.

Punitive damages are being sought by the woman involved for "loss of guidance, care and companionship, loss of income and loss of value of services" as a result of Hall's "reckless, arrogant, high-handed and abusive" actions.

However, Hall's response written by the defendant's counsel, F. Mark Rowan, argues there is no basis for punitive damages because the "proper conducting of a police interview" does not meet the requirements in which punitive damages are rewarded.

In response to the public outcry over the video released, Jennifer Strachan, RCMP deputy commissioner, said that the policing organization has updated their course on interviewing witnesses and victims, while also adding an advanced course for sexual assault investigators.

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