Attack took place in rooming house after victim sought ride home

Ottawa man convicted of raping Nunavut woman


An Ottawa man was convicted July 8 of sexually assaulting a Nunavut woman in 2006, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper reported last week.

Justice Charles Hackland of Ontario Superior Court found Gideon George Antonatos, 24, guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm.

The woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was assaulted in the bathroom of a Bruyere Street rooming house in February, 2006, after asking three men for a ride home from a bar in the Byward Market area of Ottawa.

It was the second trial for Antonatos. In September, 2007 a jury couldn't reach a verdict in the same case, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial.

In April the woman demanded a halt to proceedings because she didn't want to testify again. Hackland allowed the woman's testimony from the first trial to be admitted as evidence in the second trial.

"It certainly would be a ground of appeal," said Michael Spratt in an interview this past Tuesday, though he added his client hasn't decided whether to appeal the verdict.

During pre-trial arguments lawyers also debated whether the woman should be allowed to give testimony in Inuktitut, said Qajaq Robinson, an Iqaluit Crown prosecutor who travelled to Ottawa to help try the case.

"It was a bit of a challenge getting that permitted by the court," she said, because there's no formal process for qualifying Inuktitut-speaking translators in the Ontario court system.

Ultimately, a court interpreter from Nunavut was brought to Ottawa to work the trial, Robinson said.

Antonatos remains in custody at the Ottawa Regional Detention Centre, where he's been held since 2006, Spratt said.

Antonatos, a native of Ethiopia who immigrated to Canada at age 16, will be sentenced in August.

He also faces a deportation order dating from August, 2006 on matters predating the sexual assault. Antonatos appealed that order, but the Immigration and Refugee Board dismissed his appeal last year.

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