(Today’s Northumberland file photo Ashley Jansen and her lawyer Alan Richter outside Oshawa Court)
The Judge involved in a trial against a former education assistant in Durham Region has released more details regarding his not guilty decision of Ashley Jansen that took place in a Oshawa Courtroom on November 24, 2023.
Jansen was charged in September 2022 with sexual assault and sexual interference of a student stemming from the alleged incident that occurred in 2018.
The media release garnered media attention from around the province.
In the eight page document, released on December 21, 2023, Justice P. Tetley gives supplementary reasons for his judgement harshly calling into question both the investigation and the school board.
In the document, Justice Tetley addresses issues including, the complaint of sexual misconduct, the assessment of credibility of the complainant, the ensuing police investigation and the implications arising from the position taken by the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.
The initial complaint alleged a student had been sexually assault by Jansen where she was serving as a teacher’s aide for the student.
The complainant stated that sexual intercourse had taken place during the school day, but the allegation didn’t come forward for several years.
In a follow-up interview by Durham Regional Police Detective Constable Amanda Rabinshaw there was inconsistencies noted in the allegation.
During the trial, there were several other inconsistencies disclosed by the complainant.
“The inconsistencies in the various accounts provided by the complainant in relation to the date of the offence, the clothes worn, the characteristics of the room and the subsequent disclosure of the events to others, no meaningful consideration of the various challenges faced by the complainant at the time seems to have been considered or investigated prior to the complaint being acted upon,” stated Justice Tetley in the document.
“I have concluded the complainant’s account to have been fabricated or contrived. The inherent inconsistences in the varied reports offered of the incident are concluded to be hallmarks of an attempt to recount an incident that never took place and a seeming unwillingness of the officer in charge of the subsequent police investigation to question the veracity of the complaint at the expense of a fellow investigator and the detriment of the defendant.”
During testimony, the complainant testified behaviour as “really bad,” and characterized by “acting out” that resulted in him “getting into a lot of trouble” to the extent that a special supervisory education plan was put into place.
This type of behaviour resulted in “assaultive incidents with both the school’s Vice Principal and the defendant herself.”
“All of these considerations are concluded to undermine the reliability of the complainant’s account of events.”
“In contrast, the defendant’s account is concluded to go well beyond the creation of a reasonable doubt in relation to the offences alleged. I accept the defendant’s denial without reservation. The defendant’s relationship with the complainant was a challenging one given the compromised state of the complainant’s mental health at the time and his known propensity for violence, falsehood, self-aggrandizement, and behavioural disturbance.”
Justice Tetley said he accepted Jansen’s testimony, “without reservation and the assertion of a completely, unprotected, unexpected sexual encounter of the most invasive nature with a troubled youth as untrue, contrived, and unworthy of belief.”
Justice Tetley stated the initial 9-1-1 call had not been reviewed by Detective Sgt. Amanda Rabishaw, nor other inconsistencies prior to laying of the charges.
At the time of the criminal charges Justice Tetley stated, the complainant’s parented had not been interviewed, his teacher had not been contacted, or other teachers’ aides interviewed or the school visited.
“Collectively, these initiatives might have conspired to cast doubt on the reliability of the complainants’s account of events and sounded a cautionary warning to proceed with a cautionary warning,” before acting on the complaint and proceeding with charges.
Given there was a number of years between the complainant stating when the incident happened and reporting the incident, “it is difficult to accept that urgency or a compelling public interest dictated the laying of the charges before any meaningful investigation had taken place.”
Justice Tetley called into question, “the absence of a meaningful, independent, objective and impartial investigation.”
“It is unclear from a review of the trail record as to why these seemingly self-evident investigative initiatives were not pursued.”
Justice Tetley calls into question Sgt. Rabishaw’s investigation as the officer never visited the school or had timely interviews with the teacher of the student who is still at the school along with other staff.
“This judgement serves as a cautionary example as to the fact an injustice can occur when appropriate and available investigative steps are not pursued.”
Justice Tetley said the investigating officer wasn’t without reasonable and probable grounds to lay the charges stating the charges can arise from the complaint alone.
“What did not happen here was any meaningful investigative initiatives beyond the accepted, or believed, complaint itself. This fact was underscored by the Crown’s decision to only call the complainant as the sole witness in the prosecution’s case.”
The Position of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
Justice Tetley saved the harshest criticism for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board stating, “the complainant’s teacher and the other teacher aides who had knowledge of the complainant and defendant were specifically directed by the School Board officials not to discuss the complainant’s personal circumstances with the police. This directive acted to effectively thwart the disclosure of meaningful and alternatively compelling evidence, that was revealed during the course of the trial.”
“As noted, the Board directive not to reveal any details relating to the complainant by the educators who knew him best negatively impacted, or limited, the course of the post-arrest investigation and served to effectively prevent the timely revelation of relevant evidence that might have served to call into question the viability of the prosecution of these charges at the outset.”
Because of the Board’s desire for strict student confidentiality, “lost in the exchange was what amounts to the abrupt, official sanctioned, curtailment of necessary and warranted investigative initiatives.”
“As a direct result of the Board’s position, I conclude the investigation in this matter was hampered and the principle of investigative fairness undermined or compromised. It was not until trial when the complainant’s teacher and several education aides came forward, under subpoena, that the meaningful information they had to offer was received. Consideration of the trail testimony provided formed an important aspect of the evidence leading to the defendant’s acquittal. This determination warrants consideration should such a circumstance arise in the future.”