New trial ordered for Toronto police officer on sexual assault charges

In each case, Heard was alleged to have picked up a woman who was alone in downtown’s Entertainment District, offered her a ride home, then groped her once they were inside the police vehicle.

Heard, 47, did not dispute that he picked up the women and drove them home, but denied the allegations of sexual assault. He did not activate the vehicle’s in-car camera system in either case.

The women, who were strangers to one another and whose identities are covered by a publication ban, made what trial Judge Russell Otter called “strikingly similar” allegations against Heard. But he concluded that inconsistencies in their testimony at trial gave him “reasonable doubt as to whether the sexual assault occurred” and acquitted Heard on both counts.

Crown lawyer Philip Perlmutter appealed Otter’s ruling, arguing that the provincial judge fell into a “pattern of cascading errors,” including failing to adequately consider the fact that two strangers made allegations that were “identical in every respect and circumstance.”