No memory of night of alleged sex assault, Recinos testifies

Former Igloolik mayor describes night of heavy drinking but says ‘total blackout’ left him with no memory of what happened overnight

Former Igloolik mayor Merlyn Recinos took the stand Tuesday during the second day of his trial for an alleged sexual assault. The trial is taking place at the hamlet’s community hall. (Photo by Madalyn Howitt)

By Jorge Antunes

Former Igloolik mayor Merlyn ​​Recinos testified Tuesday he had “a total blackout” and doesn’t remember anything from the time he is alleged to have sexually assaulted a woman at his home.

On the second day of his trial at the Igloolik community hall, Recinos described an evening of drinking that started before dinner guests arrived at 7 p.m. on March 12, 2021.

He said he drank nearly an entire 750-millilitre bottle of Canadian Club whisky and two tall cans of beer during dinner. After the meal, he smoked cannabis twice, the second time taking “two puffs,” and had “a total blackout.”

Recinos, who has pleaded not guilty to the sexual assault charge, said he has no memory of anything that happened between about 11 p.m. on March 12 and about 9 a.m. the next day.

He testified he doesn’t recall the complainant, whose name cannot be published because of a court order, or her friend, or anyone else being present in his home during that time.

However, he said he could remember people who left before that time.

On Monday, his accuser testified she left Recinos’s home sometime around 9 a.m., after he had sexually assaulted her.

During cross-examination Tuesday, Crown lawyer Abel Dion asked Recinos: “You heard [the woman] describe how you had sex with her against her will? You are not in a position to tell the court that this is not true, because you have no memory of it. Is that correct?”

“That’s correct,” Recinos replied.

Recinos took the stand in the afternoon following testimony by Jeff Moy, a forensic specialist and forensic DNA analyst for the RCMP.

Moy confirmed Recinos’s DNA and semen were found on one of the three samples taken from the woman’s underwear on March 13, 2021, several hours after the alleged sexual assault.

Later that morning, the woman provided a statement to RCMP officers and was examined at Igloolik’s health centre, where the samples were taken.

Both the health-centre attendant, in a statement read in court, and the woman have said the underwear she wore was turned inside-out and backward.

At two other sample locations on the underwear, Moy said, Recinos’s DNA was also found.

Moy said DNA from a second man, designated in court as Male 2, was also found on the underwear. Moy said he could not confirm the identity of Male 2 but that it was not the woman’s boyfriend.

Testifying Tuesday afternoon, Recinos’s wife, Rhoda, said that she drank several glasses of white wine as the night progressed.

She said Recinos went to bed and then came back to the party multiple times throughout the evening. She was not sure how much alcohol he drank.

The woman’s friend, her boyfriend and Recinos’s wife all provided testimony that matched with the series of events as described by the woman, which culminated with the complainant and Recinos’s wife having an argument and a fight with the woman’s boyfriend.

What is unclear is what happened between 4 a.m. — when Rhoda Recinos said she went to bed with her husband sleeping and snoring beside her — and approximately 9 or 10 a.m. that same morning.

That’s the period during which the woman claims she was sexually assaulted by a drunken, naked Merlyn Recinos.

The trial continues Wednesday.



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