Blue Line

RCMP officer not guilty of sex assault, guilty on four other charges

December 12, 2023  By Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dec. 12, 2023, Saint John, N.B. – In one of the videos played at RCMP officer Osama Ibrahims trial on five charges, including assault, Ibrahim, then 27, and the 16-year-old girl who he was courting are negotiating.

“Say it,” she says in English. Ibrahim, holding the camera, replies in Arabic, “no hitting.” She replies “Deal,” and shakes his hand. Then, he swats her on the head just before the video ends.

During his testimony, Ibrahim denied assaulting the girl, and said that any contact was “horseplay,” a consensual part of their relationship necessary given religious restrictions on sex before marriage.

But on Tuesday, Judge Kelly Ann Winchester asked: “Why would the accused ask the complainant to promise not to hit her … if he had not done previously?”


Winchester convicted Ibrahim, with the Western Valley RCMP in Woodstock, of assault, assault with handcuffs and a baton, assault with choking against the girl as well as breach of trust. He was acquitted of sexual assault, as well as an allegation as part of the assault with a weapon charge that he had threatened the girl with a Taser.

Over six days of trial in October and November, court heard testimony from several witnesses including the girl, now 18, who said he acted abusively toward her during a relationship that lasted from January to March 2022, including that he would hit, bite, pinch and choke her, as well as threaten her, citing his RCMP status.

The girl’s identity is subject to a publication ban, and Brunswick News is withholding information that would identify her.

Ibrahim and his lawyer, T.J. Burke, declined requests for comment. Ibrahim was set for sentencing on Jan. 26.

The girl’s father, speaking on her behalf, said the verdict is “what I expected,” adding even if Ibrahim was acquitted on one charge, he was convicted on four others.

“We always believed and trusted in our law, and he got what he deserved,” he said.

Erin Nauss, acting director of the Serious Incident Response Team, who led the investigation, said they are “pleased” to see the administration of justice.

“The purpose of the SIRT is to hold the police accountable, and we conducted a thorough and impartial investigation,” she said. “The court decision hopefully increases public confidence in our work.”

When asked if the sexual assault acquittal affects perception of the investigation, Nauss said she didn’t think so.

“Our investigation found that we have reasonable grounds to lay the charges,” Nauss said. “We’re certainly respectful of the court’s decision with any evidence before it.”

RCMP Cpl. Hans Ouellette said the force respects the court’s decisions.

“RCMP members are expected to hold themselves to a high moral and professional standard,” said Ouellette. “We understand and respect the impact it can have on public trust when there is any allegation that a member has not met the standard that our communities deserve.”

Winchester said that Ibrahim, a first-year officer from Montreal, was working in Woodstock and travelling to Grand Bay-Westfield for overtime shifts in 2021 when he met the girl’s family at their Saint John-area business and became friends.

In January 2022, she said Ibrahim had asked the girl’s mother for permission to marry, and was told she was too young, but that they could “get to know each other,” and the family testified that they were allowed to spend time together at the business or at the family home.

“What seemed like a blossoming and promising girlfriend/boyfriend relationship, with contemplation of marriage, has the accused, Osama Ibrahim, before this court charged with five criminal offences,” Winchester said.

The judge said that the girl had been “compelling and credible” in her testimony, saying she had been forthright and made concessions when necessary.

That included the girl agreeing with Burke on cross-examination that she had been attracted to Ibrahim, saying teasing had been a part of their relationship, “before he turned into something I was scared of.”

Winchester said the girl’s evidence had been consistent and much of it was confirmed by other witnesses.

She also said the testimony by the girl’s father and mother had not raised issues regarding credibility or reliability.

She said she did not believe Ibrahim’s testimony and that it had given her no reason to doubt the girl’s story. Winchester said the defence’s argument that videos showing Ibrahim struggling with her in fact depict horseplay “lacks internal logic.”

“This is not the behaviour of getting to know one another,” Winchester said, noting that but for two short gestures, the girl is never seen touching him back. A video showing him putting handcuffs on her, despite being in front of the family, shows her clearly protesting, Winchester said.

With regards to claims that Ibrahim touched her breasts, Winchester said the girl was trying to tell the truth about what happened and was “clearly uncomfortable,” but said at times he had been “trying to touch” and that she wouldn’t let him. The judge said she was left with doubt and found Ibrahim not guilty of sexual assault.

The judge found that Ibrahim assaulted the girl “many different ways,” and said there was evidence that the baton and handcuffs had been used, but no evidence he had directly threatened the girl with his Taser.

Winchester convicted Ibrahim on breach of trust based on the other criminal convictions. She said that while the court was not interested in his time spent outside his patrol area while on shift, she did take Ibrahim’s repeated false reports that he was patrolling while spending time with the family against his credibility.

Crown prosecutor Christopher Lavigne suggested that Ibrahim forfeit any passports while on release pending sentence. Burke said that wouldn’t be necessary, saying his client was a “former RCMP officer,” with a family who has roots in the Montreal area, and has not breached his release order to date. Winchester required only that Ibrahim have no contact with the family and appear in court for sentencing Jan. 26.

Ouellette said Tuesday that Ibrahim’s RCMP status had not changed since September 2022, when RCMP said he was suspended with pay as a result of the SIRT investigation, with code of conduct allegations pending related to this and an unrelated matter. At the time, the RCMP said it would proceed “with appropriate actions” at the conclusion of the legal process.

– Telegraph-Journal

Print this page


Stories continue below