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Court martial: alleged sexual-assault victim says accused told her he wanted sex

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Warrant officer Andre Gagnon, centre, walks to testify at his court martial at the St-Malo Armoury Tuesday, August 12, 2014 in Quebec City with his defence counsel Major Philippe-Luc Boutin, left. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Clement Allard

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Warrant officer Andre Gagnon, centre, walks to testify at his court martial at the St-Malo Armoury Tuesday, August 12, 2014 in Quebec City with his defence counsel Major Philippe-Luc Boutin, left. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Clement Allard

QUEBEC - A court martial for a military warrant officer heard Tuesday that he told his alleged victim he was interested in having sex with her.

Warrant officer Andre Gagnon has pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault against a former colleague.

His alleged victim testified the alleged assault took place after a holiday dinner in December 2011.

The indictment filed against Gagnon cites one count under Sec. 130 of the National Defence Act as well as the Criminal Code section referring to sexual assault.

Former corporal Stephanie Raymond, who insisted in court Tuesday that her name not be protected by a publication ban, said she had attended an office party at a Quebec City-area restaurant.

Gagnon and a group of military colleagues were also at the dinner.

Raymond testified the wine flowed at the gathering and that she felt "quite tipsy" by the end of the event.

After the dinner, Raymond said she preferred to leave her car at the restaurant and she found herself alone with Gagnon.

Unable to find a taxi, the pair continued to walk to the nearby Regiment de la Chaudiere armoury, where they worked and which was deserted at the time. They planned to call a taxi from the facility.

However, Raymond said that once there she wasn't able to get through the armoury's telephone system to call a cab. She suggested to Gagnon that he accompany her the few blocks to her home where she wanted to "continue to drink" and where he could use her phone to finally get him a ride home.

She testified that Gagnon refused the invitation and that he said he would want sex if he went to her place.

Raymond testified that he asked her to come into a meeting room on the pretext of speaking with her and then kissed and touched her sexually. She said he also tried to get oral sex and to penetrate her despite her objections.

"At that point, I said, 'No, stop'."

The former soldier said she talked to Gagnon for about an hour and apologized for rejecting his advances. She said she did so because she feared reprisals from a superior officer. She said she also talked to him about his marital problems to help defuse the tension between them at the time.

Afterwards, they both walked back to the restaurant to get their cars.

Raymond said she did not physically resist Gagnon's alleged advances because she feared he would make life difficult for her in their office. She also acknowledged she asked him not to discuss the matter with colleagues because she didn't want to fuel office gossip.

The alleged victim filed a complaint against Gagnon in 2011 and was subsequently discharged by the army.

The military court martial is being overseen by a colonel in front of a panel of five soldiers. It is similar to a civilian criminal trial before a jury. The proceedings are being handled by a court martial because both Gagnon and Raymond were in the Canadian Forces at the time of the incident although Raymond is now a full-time student.

Gagnon could face a sentence of 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

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