Charges against a Calgary man accused of raping a woman over a 10-hour period nearly two years ago have been unexpectedly stayed.
Crown prosecutor Karuna Ramakrishnan issued the stay after the 44-year-old complainant, who recanted her story under cross-examination by defence lawyer Rebecca Snukal on Wednesday, failed to show up in court on Friday for further questioning.
She had been ordered to do so by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sandy Park, so Ramakrishnan could reconsider her position.
John Francis Dionne, 43, had faced charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm, kidnapping, assault causing bodily harm and uttering death threats in connection with the alleged incident on Oct. 28, 2008.
His first trial ended in a mistrial in June, because of an issue with one of the jurors, and was rescheduled for this week.
The woman initially outlined in detail what she says occurred during the ordeal, but when cross-examined, she couldn't remember specific details.
Then, when asked why she would accept a ride from the man she claimed had raped her for 10 hours she became frustrated and denied it even happened.
"I'm lying about everything," she told Snukal.
"Hurry along because I'm lying about everything. He's not a rapist . . . so there, that's it. End of it . . . he didn't rape me.
"Let Mr. John Francis go free. He's not a rapist. It's over. That's all I have to say. Let him out."
Dionne, who had been in custody since his arrest, was to be released some time later on Friday.
The Crown has a year to revive the charges, but seldom does so unless new evidence arises.
Every civilized society must strive to (1) eradicate heinous crimes by punishing the offenders, and (2) insure that the innocent aren't punished along with the offenders. Too often, the second half of that balance is omitted from the public discourse. Accusations of serious criminality, especially murder and sexual wrongdoing, too often are their own convictions in the high court of public opinion because the stigma is so severe. It is our mission to raise awareness about the injustices suffered by persons wrongly accused of serious criminality. Protecting the innocent from unjust harm as a result of a wrongful accusation is a hallmark of a civilized society.